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Full text of "The interpretation of dreams"

? WM I IN 



D EREUD. LL.D. 



TO BE TAKEN FROM THIS R( 



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Boston 

Medical Library 

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THE INTERPRETATION 
OF DREAMS 



BY 

Prof. Dr. SIGMUND FREUD, LL.D. 



AUTHORISED TRANSLATION OF THIRD EDITION 
WITH INTRODUCTION 

BY 

A. A. BRILL, Ph.B., M.D. 

CHIEF OP THE NEUROLOGICAL DEPARTMENT OF THE BRONX HOSPITAL AND DISPENSARY 

CLINICAL ASSISTANT IN NEUROLOGY AND PSYCHIATRY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY 

FORMER ASSISTANT PHYSICIAN IN THE CENTRAL ISLIP STATE HOSPITAL 

AND IN THE CLINIC OF PSYCHIATRY, ZÜRICH 



" Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movcbo " 



NEW YORK 
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

1913 



INTRODUCTORY REMARKS 

In attempting a discussion of the Interpretation of Dreams, I 
do not believe that I have overstepped the bounds of neuro- 
pathological interest. For, on psychological investigation, 
the dream proves to be the first link in a chain of abnormal 
psychic structures whose other links, the hysterical phobia, 
the obsession, and the delusion must, for practical reasons, 
claim the interest of the physician. The dream (as will 
appear) can lay no claim to a corresponding practical signi- 
ficance ; its theoretical value as a paradigm is, however, all 
the greater, and one who cannot explain the origin of the 
dream pictures will strive in vain to understand the phobias, 
obsessive and delusional ideas, and likewise their therapeutic 
importance. 

But this relation, to which our subject owes its importance, 
is responsible also for the deficiencies in the work before us. 
The surfaces of fracture which will be found so frequently in 
this discussion correspond to so many points of contact at 
which the problem of the dream formation touches more 
comprehensive problems of psychopathology, which cannot be 
discussed here, and which will be subjected to future elabora- 
tion if there should be sufficient time and energy, and if further 
material should be forthcoming. 

Peculiarities in the material I have used to elucidate the 
interpretation of dreams have rendered this publication diffi- 
cult. From the work itself it will appear why all dreams 
related in the literature or collected by others had to remain 
useless for my purpose ; for examples I had to choose between 
my own dreams and those of my patients who were under 
psychoanalytic treatment. I was restrained from utilising 
the latter material by the fact that in it the dream processes 
were subjected to an undesirable complication on account 
of the intermixture of neurotic characters. On the other 



vi THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

hand, inseparably connected with my own dreams was the cir- 
cumstance that I was obliged to expose more of the intimacies 
of my psychic life than I should like and than generally falls 
to the task of an author who is not a poet but an investigator 
of nature. This was painful, but unavoidable ; I had to put 
up with the inevitable in order not to be obliged to forego 
altogether the demonstration of the truth of my psycho- 
logical results. To be sure, I could not at best resist the temp- 
tation of disguising some of my indiscretions through omissions 
and substitutions, and as often as this happened it detracted 
materially from the value of the examples which I employed. 
I can only express the hope that the reader of this work, 
putting himself in my difficult position, will show forbearance, 
and also that all persons who are inclined to take offence at 
any of the dreams reported will concede freedom of thought 
at least to the dream life. 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION 

If there has arisen a demand for a second edition of this rather 
difficult book before the end of the first decade, I owe no 
gratitude to the interest of the professional circles to whom 
I appealed in the preceding sentences. My colleagues in 
psychiatry, apparently, have made no effort to shake off the 
first surprise which my new conception of the dream evoked, 
and the professional philosophers, who are accustomed to treat 
the problem of dream life as a part of the states of con- 
sciousness, devoting to it a few — for the most part identical 
— sentences, have apparently failed to observe that in this 
field could be found all kinds of things which would inevit- 
ably lead to a thorough transformation of our psychological 
theories. The behaviour of the scientific critics could only 
justify the expectation that this work of mine was destined 
to be buried in oblivion ; and the small troop of brave pupils 
who follow my leadership in the medical application of psycho- 
analysis, and also follow my example in analysing dreams in 
order to utilise these analyses in the treatment of neurotics, 
would not have exhausted the first edition of the book. I 
therefore feel indebted to that wider circle of intelligent 
seekers after truth whose co-operation has procured for me 
the invitation to take up anew, after nine years, the difficult 
and in so many respects fundamental work. 

I am glad to be able to say that I have found little to 
change. Here and there I have inserted new material, added 
new views from my wider experience, and attempted to revise 
certain points ; but everything essential concerning the dream 
and its interpretation, as well as the psychological proposi- 
tions derived from it, has remained unchanged : at least, 
subjectively, it has stood the test of time. Those who are 
acquainted with my other works on the Etiology and Mechan- 
ism of the psychoneuroses, know that I have never offered 



viii THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

anything unfinished as finished, and that I have always striven 
to change my assertions in accordance with my advancing 
views ; but in the realm of the dream life I have been able to 
stand by my first declarations. During the long years of my 
work on the problems of the neuroses, I have been repeatedly 
confronted with doubts, and have often made mistakes ; but 
it was always in the " interpretation of dreams " that I found 
my bearings. My numerous scientific opponents, therefore, 
show an especially sure instinct when they refuse to follow me 
into this territory of dream investigation . 

Likewise, the material used in this book to illustrate the 
rules of dream interpretation, drawn chiefly from dreams of 
my own which have been depreciated and outstripped by 
events, have in the revision shown a persistence which re- 
sisted substantial changes. For me, indeed, the book has 
still another subjective meaning which I could comprehend 
only after it had been completed. It proved to be for me a 
part of my self -analysis, a reaction to the death of my father 
— that is, to the most significant event, the deepest loss, in 
the life of a man. After I recognised this I felt powerless to 
efface the traces of this influence. For the reader, however, 
it makes no difference from what material he learns to value 
and interpret dreams. 

Berchtesgaden, Summer of 1908. 



PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION 

Whereas a period of nine years elapsed between the first and 
second editions of this book, the need for a third edition has 
appeared after little more than a year. I have reason to be 
pleased with this change ; but, just as I have not considered 
the earlier neglect of my work on the part of the reader as a 
proof of its unworthiness, I am unable to find in the interest 
manifested at present a proof of its excellence. 

The progress in scientific knowledge has shown its influ- 
ence on the Interpretation of Dreams. When I wrote it in 
1899 the " Sexual Theories " was not yet in existence, and the 
analysis of complicated forms of psychoneuroses was still in 
its infancy. The interpretation of dreams was destined to 
aid in the psychological analysis of the neuroses, but since 
then the deeper understanding of the neuroses has reacted 
on our conception of the dream. The study of dream in- 
terpretation itself has continued to develop in a direction 
upon which not enough stress was laid in the first edition of 
this book. From my own experience, as well as from the 
works of W. Stekel and others, I have since learned to attach 
a greater value to the extent and the significance of sym- 
bolism in dreams (or rather in the unconscious thinking). 
Thus much has accumulated in the course of this year which 
requires consideration. I have endeavoured to do justice to 
this new material by numerous insertions in the text and by 
the addition of footnotes. If these supplements occasionally 
threaten to warp the original discussion, or if, even with their 
aid, we have been unsuccessful in raising the original text to the 
niveau of our present views, I must beg indulgence for the 
gaps in the book, as they are only consequences and indica- 
tions of the present rapid development of our knowledge. I 
also venture to foretell in what other directions later edi- 
tions of the Interpretation of Dreams — in case any should be 



x THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

demanded — will differ from the present one. They will have, 
on the one hand, to include selections from the rich material 
of poetry, myth, usage of language, and folklore, and, on the 
other hand, to treat more profoundly the relations of the 
dream to the neuroses and to mental diseases. 

Mr. Otto Rank has rendered me valuable service in the 
selection of the addenda and in reading the proof sheets. I 
am gratefully indebted to him and to many others for their 
contributions and corrections. 

Vienna, Spring of 1911. 



TRANSLATORS PREFACE 

Since the appearance of the author's Selected Papers on 
Hysteria and other Psychoneuroses, and Three Contributions to 
the Sexual Theory* much has been said and written about 
Freud's works. Some of our readers have made an honest 
endeavour to test and utilise the author's theories, but they 
have been handicapped by their inability to read fluently 
very difficult German, for only two of Freud's works have 
hitherto been accessible to English readers. For them this 
work will be of invaluable assistance. To be sure, numerous 
articles on the Freudian psychology have of late made their 
appearance in our literature ; f but these scattered papers, 
read by those unacquainted with the original work, often serve 
to confuse rather than enlighten. For Freud cannot be 
mastered from the reading of a few pamphlets, or even one or 
two of his original works. Let me repeat what I have so often 
said : No one is really qualified to use or to judge Freud's 
psychoanalytic method who has not thoroughly mastered 
his theory of the neuroses — The Interpretation of Dreams, 
Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory, The Psychopathology 
of Everyday Life, and Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious, 
and who has not had considerable experience in analysing 
the dreams and psychopathological actions of himself and 
others. That there is required also a thorough training in 
normal and abnormal psychology goes without saying. 

The Interpretation of Dreams is the author's greatest and 
most important work ; it is here that he develops his psycho- 
analytic technique, a thorough knowledge of which is abso- 
lutely indispensable for every worker in this field. The difficult 
task of making a translation of this work has, therefore, been 

* Translated by A. A. Brill (Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 
Publishing Company). 

f Cf. the works of Ernest Jones, James J. Putnam, the present writer, 
and others. 



xii THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

undertaken primarily for the purpose of assisting those who 
are actively engaged in treating patients by Freud's psycho- 
analytic method. Considered apart from its practical aim, 
the book presents much that is of interest to the psychologist 
and the general reader. For, notwithstanding the fact that 
dreams have of late years been the subject of investigation 
at the hands of many competent observers, only few have 
contributed anything tangible towards their solution ; it was 
Freud who divested the dream of its mystery, and solved its 
riddles. He not only showed us that the dream is full of 
meaning, but amply demonstrated that it is intimately con- 
nected with normal and abnormal mental life. It is in the 
treatment of the abnormal mental states that we must re- 
cognise the most important value of dream interpretation. 
The dream does not only reveal to us the cryptic mechanisms 
of hallucinations, delusions, phobias, obsessions, and other 
psychopathological conditions, but it is also the most potent 
instrument in the removal of these.* 

I take this opportunity of expressing my indebtedness to 
Professor F. C. Prescott for reading the manuscript and for 
helping me overcome the almost insurmountable difficulties 
in the translation. 

A. A. BRILL. 

New York City. 

* For examples demonstrating these facts, cf. my work, Psychoanalysis ; 
its Theories and Practical Application, W. B. Saunders' Publishing Company, 
Philadelphia & London. 



CONTENTS 

CHAP. PAGE 

I. The Scientific Literature on the Problems op 

the Dream 1 

II. Method of Dream Interpretation : The Analysis 

op a Sample Dream 80 

III. The Dream is the Fulfilment of a Wish . . 103 

IV. Distortion in Dreams 113 

V. The Material and Sources of Dreams . . . 138 

VI. The Dream- Work 260 

VII. The Psychology of the Dream Activities . . 403 

VIII. Literary Index . 494 

INDEX ......... 501 



THE INTERPRETATION OF 
DREAMS 

I 

THE SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE ON THE 
PROBLEMS OF THE DREAM* 

In the following pages I shall prove that there exists a psycho- 
logical technique by which dreams may be interpreted, and 
that upon the application of this method every dream will 
show itself to be a senseful psychological structure which 
may be introduced into an assignable place in the psychic 
activity of the waking state. I shall furthermore endeavour 
to explain the processes which give rise to the strangeness 
and obscurity of the dream, and to discover through them 
the nature of the psychic forces which operate, whether in 
combination or in opposition, to produce the dream. This 
accomplished, my investigation will terminate, as it will have 
reached the point where the problem of the dream meets with 
broader problems, the solution of which must be attempted 
through other material. 

I must presuppose that the reader is acquainted with the 
work done by earlier authors as well as with the present 
status of the dream problem in science, since in the course of 
this treatise I shall not often have occasion to return to them. 
For, notwithstanding the effort of several thousand years, 
little progress has been made in the scientific understanding 
of dreams. This has been so universally acknowledged by 
the authors that it seems unnecessary to quote individual 
opinions. One will find in the writings indexed at the end 
of this book many stimulating observations and plenty of 
interesting material for our subject, but little or nothing 

* To the first publication of this book, 1900. 



2 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

that concerns the true nature of the dream or that solves 
definitively any of its enigmas. Still less of course has been 
transmitted to the knowledge of the educated laity. 

The first book in which the dream is treated as an object 
of psychology seems to be that of Aristotle x (Concerning 
Dreams and their Interpretation). Aristotle asserts that the 
dream is of demoniacal, though not of divine nature, which 
indeed contains deep meaning, if it be correctly interpreted. 
He was also acquainted with some of the characteristics of 
dream life, e.g., he knew that the dream turns slight sensa- 
tions perceived during sleep into great ones (" one imagines 
that one walks through fire and feels hot, if this or that part 
of the body becomes slightly warmed "), which led him to 
conclude that dreams might easily betray to the physician 
the first indications of an incipient change in the body passing 
unnoticed during the day. I have been unable to go more 
deeply into the Aristotelian treatise, because of insufficient 
preparation and lack of skilled assistance. 

As every one knows, the ancients before Aristotle did not 
consider the dream a product of the dreaming mind, but a 
divine inspiration, and in ancient times the two antagonistic 
streams, which one finds throughout in the estimates of 
dream life, were already noticeable. They distinguished 
between true and valuable dreams, sent to the dreamer to 
warn him or to foretell the future, and vain, fraudulent, and 
empty dreams, the object of which was to misguide or lead 
him to destruction.* This pre-scientific conception of the 
dream among the ancients was certainly in perfect keeping 
with their general view of life, which was wont to project as 
reality in the outer world that which possessed reality only 
within the mind. It, moreover, accounted for the main im- 

* Compare, on the other hand, O. Gruppe, Griechische Mythologie und 
Religionsgeschichte, p. 390. " Dreams were divided into two classes ; the first 
were influenced only hy the present (or past), and were unimportant for the 
future : they emhraced the ivvwvia, insomnia, which immediately produces 
the given idea or its opposite, e.g. hunger or its satiation, and the cpavrda/xara, 
which elaborates the given idea phantastically, as e.g. the nightmare, ephialtes. 
The second class was, on the other hand, determinant for the future. To 
this belong: (1) direct prophecies received in the dream (xpvi UiaTta '^ i , oracu- 
lum) ; (2) the foretelling of a future event (Öpa/ia) ■ (3) the symbolic or the 
dream requiring interpretation (6veipos, somnium). This theory has been 
preserved for many centuries." 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 3 

pression made upon the waking life by the memory left from 
the dream in the morning, for in this memory the dream, as 
compared with the rest of the psychic content, seems some- 
thing strange, coming, as it were, from another world. It 
would likewise be wrong to suppose that the theory of the 
supernatural origin of dreams lacks followers in our own day ; 
for leaving out of consideration all bigoted and mystical 
authors — who are perfectly justified in adhering to the 
remnants of the once extensive realm of the supernatural 
until they have been swept away by scientific explanation 
— one meets even sagacious men averse to anything adven- 
turous, who go so far as to base their religious belief in the 
existence and co-operation of superhuman forces on the 
inexplicableness of the dream manifestations (Hafmer 32 ). 
The validity ascribed to the dream life by some schools of 
philosophy, e.g. the school of Schelling, is a distinct echo of 
the undisputed divinity of dreams in antiquity, nor is dis- 
cussion closed on the subject of the mantic or prophetic power 
of dreams. This is due to the fact that the attempted psycho- 
logical explanations are too inadequate to overcome the 
accumulated material, however strongly all those who devote 
themselves to a scientific mode of thought may feel that such 
assertions should be repudiated. 

To write a history of our scientific knowledge of dream 
problems is so difficult because, however valuable some parts 
of this knowledge may have been, no progress in definite 
directions has been discernible. There has been no con- 
struction of a foundation of assured results upon which future 
investigators could continue to build, but every new author 
takes up the same problems afresh and from the very beginning. 
Were I to follow the authors in chronological order, and give 
a review of the opinions each has held concerning the problems 
of the dream, I should be prevented from drawing a clear and 
complete picture of the present state of knowledge on the 
subject. I have therefore preferred to base the treatment 
upon themes rather than upon the authors, and I shall cite 
for each problem of the dream the material found in the 
literature for its solution. 

But as I have not succeeded in mastering the entire 
literature, which is widely disseminated and interwoven with 



4 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

that on other subjects, I must ask my readers to rest content 
provided no fundamental fact or important viewpoint be lost 
in my description. 

Until recently most authors have been led to treat the 
subjects of sleep and dream in the same connection, and with 
them they have also regularly treated analogous states of 
psychopathology, and other dreamlike states like hallucina- 
tions, visions, &c. In the more recent works, on the other 
hand, there has been a tendency to keep more closely to the 
theme, and to take as the subject one single question of the 
dream life. This change, I believe, is an expression of the 
conviction that enlightenment and agreement in such obscure 
matters can only be brought about by a series of detailed 
investigations. It is such a detailed investigation and one of 
a special psychological nature, that I would offer here. I have 
little occasion to study the problem of sleep, as it is essentially 
a psychological problem, although the change of functional 
determinations for the mental apparatus must be included in 
the character of sleep. The literature of sleep will therefore 
not be considered here. 

A scientific interest in the phenomena of dreams as such 
leads to the following in part interdependent inquiries : 

(a) The Relation of the Dream to the Waking State. — The naive 
judgment of a person on awakening assumes that the dream — 
if indeed it does not originate in another world — at any rate 
has taken the dreamer into another world. The old physio- 
logist, Burdach, 8 to whom we are indebted for a careful and 
discriminating description of the phenomena of dreams, ex- 
pressed this conviction in an often-quoted passage, p. 474 : 
" The waking life never repeats itself with its trials and joys, 
its pleasures and pains, but, on the contrary, the dream aims to 
relieve us of these. Even when our whole mind is filled with 
one subject, when profound sorrow has torn our hearts or 
when a task has claimed the whole power of our mentality, the 
dream either gives us something entirely strange, or it takes for 
its combinations only a few elements from reality, or it only 
enters into the strain of our mood and symbolises reality." 

L. Strümpell 68 expresses himself to the same effect in his 
Nature and Origin of Dreams (p. 16), a study which is every- 
where justly held ir> high respect : "He who dreams turns 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 5 

his back upon the world of waking consciousness " (p. 17). "In 
the dream the memory of the orderly content of the waking 
consciousness and its normal behaviour is as good as entirely 
lost " (p. 19). " The almost complete isolation of the mind 
in the dream from the regular normal content and course of 
the waking state ..." 

But the overwhelming majority of the authors have 
assumed a contrary view of the relation of the dream to 
waking life. Thus Haffner 32 (p. 19) : " First of all the dream 
is the continuation of the waking state. Our dreams always 
unite themselves with those ideas which have shortly before 
been in our consciousness. Careful examination will nearly 
always find a thread by which the dream has connected itself 
with the experience of the previous day." Weygandt 75 
(p. 6), flatly contradicts the above cited statement of Burdach : 
" For it may often be observed, apparently in the great 
majority of dreams, that they lead us directly back into 
everyday life, instead of releasing us from it." Maury 48 
(p. 56), says in a concise formula : " Nous revons de ce que 
nous avons vu, dit, desire ou fait." Jessen, 36 in his Psychology, 
published in 1855 (p. 530), is somewhat more explicit : " The 
content of dreams is more or less determined by the individual 
personality, by age, sex, station in life, education, habits, and 
by events and experiences of the whole past life." 

The ancients had the same idea about the dependence of 
the dream content upon life. I cite Radestock 54 (p. 139) : 
" When Xerxes, before his march against Greece, was dis- 
suaded from this resolution by good counsel, but was again 
and again incited by dreams to undertake it, one of the old 
rational dream-interpreters of the Persians, Artabanus, told 
him very appropriately that dream pictures mostly contain 
that of which one has been thinking while awake." 

In the didactic poem of Lucretius, De Rerum Natura 
(IV, v. 959), occurs this passage : — 

" Et quo quisque fere studio devinctus adhaeret, 
aut quibus in rebus multum sumus ante morati 
atque in ea ratione fuit contenta magis mens, 
in somnis eadem plerumque videmur obire ; 
causidici causas agere et componere leges, 
induperatores pugnare ac proelia obire," &c, &c. 



6 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

Cicero {De Divinatione, II) says quite similarly, as does 
also Maury much later : — 

" Maximeque reliquiae earum rerum moventur in animis 
et agitantur, de quibus vigilantes aut cogitavimus aut egimus." 

The contradiction expressed in these two views as to the 
relation between dream life and waking life seems indeed 
insoluble. It will therefore not be out of place to mention 
the description of F. W. Hildebrandt 35 (1875), who believes 
that the peculiarities of the dream can generally be described 
only by calling them a " series of contrasts which apparently 
shade off into contradictions " (p. 8). " The first of these 
contrasts is formed on the one hand by the strict isolation or 
seclusion of the dream from true and actual life, and on the 
other hand by the continuous encroachment of the one upon 
the other, and the constant dependency of one upon the 
other. The dream is something absolutely separated from 
the reality experienced during the waking state ; one may call 
it an existence hermetically sealed up and separated from 
real life by an unsurmountable chasm. It frees us from 
reality, extinguishes normal recollection of reality, and places 
us in another world and in a totally different life, which at 
bottom has nothing in common with reality. . . ." Hildebrandt 
then asserts that in falling asleep our whole being, with all its 
forms of existence, disappears " as through an invisible trap 
door." In the dream one is perhaps making a voyage to 
St. Helena in order to offer the imprisoned Napoleon something 
exquisite in the way of Moselle wine. One is most amicably 
received by the ex-emperor, and feels almost sorry when the 
interesting illusion is destroyed on awakening. But let us 
now compare the situation of the dream with reality. The 
dreamer has never been a wine merchant, and has no desire to 
become one. He has never made a sea voyage, and St. Helena 
is the last place he would take as destination for such a voyage. 
The dreamer entertains no sympathetic feeling for Napoleon, 
but on the contrary a strong patriotic hatred. And finally the 
dreamer was not yet among the living when Napoleon died on 
the island ; so that it was beyond the reach of possibility for 
him to have had any personal relations with Napoleon. The 
dream experience thus appears as something strange, inserted 
between two perfectly harmonising and succeeding periods. 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 7 

" Nevertheless," continues Hildebrandt, " the opposite is 
seemingly just as true and correct. I believe that hand in 
hand with this seclusion and isolation there can still exist 
the most intimate relation and connection. We may justly 
say that no matter what the dream offers, it finds its material 
in reality and in the psychic life arrayed around this reality. 
However strange the dream may seem, it can never detach 
itself from reality, and its most sublime as well as its most 
farcical structures must always borrow their elementary 
material either from what we have seen with our eyes in the 
outer world, or from what has previously found a place some- 
where in our waking thoughts ; in other words, it must be 
taken from what we had already experienced either objectively 
or subjectively." 

(b) The Material of the Dream. — Memory in the Dream. — 
That all the material composing the content of the dream in 
some way originates in experience, that it is reproduced in 
the dream, or recalled, — this at least may be taken as an 
indisputable truth. Yet it would be wrong to assume that 
such connection between dream content and reality will be 
readily disclosed as an obvious product of the instituted com- 
parison. On the contrary, the connection must be carefully 
sought, and in many cases it succeeds in eluding discovery for 
a long time. The reason for this is to be found in a number of 
peculiarities evinced by the memory in dreams, which, though 
universally known, have hitherto entirely eluded explanation. 
It will be worth while to investigate exhaustively these 
characteristics. 

It often happens that matter appears in the dream content 
which one cannot recognise later in the waking state as be- 
longing to one's knowledge and experience. One remembers 
well enough having dreamed about the subject in question, 
but cannot recall the fact or time of the experience. The 
dreamer is therefore in the dark as to the source from which 
the dream has been drawing, and is even tempted to believe 
an independently productive activity on the part of the 
dream, until, often long afterwards, a new episode brings back 
to recollection a former experience given up as lost, and thus 
reveals the source of the dream. One is thus forced to admit 
that something has been known and remembered in the dream 



8 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

that has been withdrawn from memory during the waking 
state. 

Delbceuf 16 narrates from his own experience an especially 
impressive example of this kind. He saw in his dream the 
courtyard of his house covered with snow, and found two 
little lizards half-frozen and buried in the snow. Being a 
lover of animals, he picked them up, warmed them, and put 
them back into a crevice in the wall which was reserved for 
them. He also gave them some small fern leaves that had 
been growing on the wall, which he knew they were fond 
of. In the dream he knew the name of the plant : Asplenium 
ruta muralis. The dream then continued, returning after a 
digression to the lizards, and to his astonishment Delbceuf 
saw two other little animals falling upon what was left of the 
ferns. On turning his eyes to the open field he saw a fifth 
and a sixth lizard running into the hole in the wall, and finally 
the street was covered with a procession of lizards, all wander- 
ing in the same direction, &c. 

In his waking state Delbceuf knew only a few Latin names 
of plants, and nothing of the Asplenium. To his great surprise 
he became convinced that a fern of this name really existed 
and that the correct name was Asplenium ruta muraria, which 
the dream had slightly disfigured. An accidental coincidence 
could hardly be considered, but it remained a mystery for 
Delbceuf whence he got his knowledge of the name Asplenium 
in the dream. 

The dream occurred in 1862. Sixteen years later, while 
at the house of one of his friends, the philosopher noticed a 
small album containing dried plants resembling the albums 
that are sold as souvenirs to visitors in many parts of Switzer- 
land. A sudden recollection occurred to him ; he opened 
the herbarium, and discovered therein the Asplenium of his 
dream, and recognised his own handwriting in the accom- 
panying Latin name. The connection could now be traced. 
While on her wedding trip, a sister of this friend visited Delbceuf 
in 1860 — two years prior to the lizard dream. She had with 
her at the time this album, which was intended for her brother, 
and Delbceuf took the trouble to write, at the dictation of a 
botanist, under each of the dried plants the Latin name. 

The favourable accident which made possible the report of 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 9 

this valuable example also permitted Delbceuf to trace another 
portion of this dream to its forgotten source. One day in 
1877 he came upon an old volume of an illustrated journal, 
in which he found pictured the whole procession of lizards 
just as he had dreamed it in 1862. The volume bore the date 
of 1861, and Delbceuf could recall that he had subscribed to 
the journal from its first appearance. 

That the dream has at its disposal recollections which are 
inaccessible to the waking state is such a remarkable and 
theoretically important fact that I should like to urge more 
attention to it by reporting several other " Hypermnesic 
Dreams." Maury 48 relates that for some time the word 
Mussidan used to occur to his mind during the day. He knew 
it to be the name of a French city, but nothing else. One 
night he dreamed of a conversation with a certain person who 
told him that she came from Mussidan, and, in answer to his 
question where the city was, she replied : " Mussidan is a 
principal country town in the Departement de La Dordogne." 
On waking, Maury put no faith in the information received in 
his dream ; the geographical lexicon, however, showed it to be 
perfectly correct. In this case the superior knowledge of the 
dream is confirmed, but the forgotten source of this knowledge 
has not been traced. 

Jessen 36 tells (p. 55) of a quite similar dream occurrence, 
from more remote times. " Among others we may here 
mention the dream of the elder Scaliger (Hennings, I.e., p. 300), 
who wrote a poem in praise of celebrated men of Verona, and 
to whom a man, named Brugnolus, appeared in a dream, 
complaining that he had been neglected. Though Scaliger 
did not recall ever having heard of him, he wrote some verses 
in his honour, and his son later discovered at Verona that a 
Brugnolus had formerly been famous there as a critic. 

Myers is said to have published a whole collection of such 
hypermnesic dreams in the Proceedings of the Society for 
Psychical Research, which are unfortunately inaccessible to 
me. I believe every one who occupies himself with dreams 
will recognise as a very common phenomenon the fact that the 
dream gives proof of knowing and recollecting matters unknown 
to the waking person. In my psychoanalytic investigations 
of nervous patients, of which I shall speak later, I am every 



10 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

week more than once in position to convince my patients from 
their dreams that they are well acquainted with quotations, 
obscene expressions, &c, and that they make use of these in 
their dreams, although they have forgotten them in the waking 
state. I shall cite here a simple case of dream hypermnesia 
because it was easy to trace the source which made the know- 
ledge accessible to the dream. 

A patient dreamed in a lengthy connection that he ordered 
a " Kontuszöwka " in a cafe, and after reporting this inquired 
what it might mean, as he never heard the name before. I 
was able to answer that Kontuszöwka was a Polish liquor 
which he could not have invented in his dream, as the name 
had long been familiar to me in advertisements. The patient 
would not at first believe me, but some days later, after he had 
realised his dream of the cafe, he noticed the name on a sign- 
board at the street corner, which he had been obliged to pass 
for months at least twice a day. 

I have learned from my own dreams how largely the dis- 
covery of the origin of some of the dream elements depends 
on accident. Thus, for years before writing this book, I was 
haunted by the picture of a very simply formed church tower 
which I could not recall having seen. I then suddenly re- 
cognised it with absolute certainty at a small station between 
Salzburg and Reichenhall. This was in the later nineties, 
and I had travelled over the road for the first time in the year 
1886. In later years, when I was already busily engaged in 
the study of dreams, I was quite annoyed at the frequent re- 
currence of the dream picture of a certain peculiar locality. 
I saw it in definite local relation to my person — to my left, a 
dark space from which many grotesque sandstone figures 
stood out. A glimmer of recollection, which I did not quite 
credit, told me it was the entrance to a beer-cellar, but I 
could explain neither the meaning nor the origin of this dream 
picture. In 1907 I came by chance to Padua, which, to my 
regret, I had been unable to visit since 1895. My first visit 
to this beautiful university city was unsatisfactory ; I was 
unable to see Giotto's frescoes in the church of the Madonna 
dell' Arena, and on my way there turned back on being in- 
formed that the little church was closed on the day. On my 
second visit, twelve years later, I thought of compensating 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 11 

myself for this, and before everything else I started out for 
Madonna dell' Arena. On the street leading to it, on my left, 
probably at the place where I had turned in 1895, I discovered 
the locality which I had so often seen in the dream, with its 
sandstone figures. It was in fact the entrance to a restaurant 
garden. 

One of the sources from which the dream draws material 
for reproduction — material which in part is not recalled or 
employed in waking thought — is to.be found in childhood. I 
shall merely cite some of the authors who have observed and 
emphasized this. 

Hildebrandt 35 (p. 23) : " It has already been expressly 
admitted that the dream sometimes brings back to the mind 
with wonderful reproductive ability remote and even forgotten 
experiences from the earliest periods." 

Strümpell 66 (p. 40) : " The subject becomes more inter- 
esting when we remember how the dream sometimes brings 
forth, as it were, from among the deepest and heaviest strata 
which later years have piled upon the earliest childhood ex- 
periences, the pictures of certain places, things, and persons, 
quite uninjured and with their original freshness. This is not 
limited merely to such impressions as have gained vivid con- 
sciousness during their origin or have become impressed with 
strong psychic validity, and then later return in the dream as 
actual reminiscences, causing pleasure to the awakened con- 
sciousness. On the contrary, the depths of the dream memory 
comprise also such pictures of persons, things, places, and 
early experiences as either possessed but little consciousness 
and no psychic value at all, or have long ago lost both, and there- 
fore appear totally strange and unknown both in the dream and 
in the waking state, until their former origin is revealed." 

Volkelt 72 (p. 119): "It is essentially noteworthy how 
easily infantile and youthful reminiscences enter into the 
dream. What we have long ceased to think about, what has 
long since lost for us all importance, is constantly recalled by 
the dream." 

The sway of the dream over the infantile material, which, 
as is well known, mostly occupies the gaps in the conscious 
memory, causes the origin of interesting hypermnestic dreams, 
a few of which I shall here report. 



12 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

Maury 48 relates (p. 92) that as a child he often went from 
his native city, Meaux, to the neighbouring Trilport, where 
his father superintended the construction of a bridge. On a 
certain night a dream transported him to Trilport, and he was 
again playing in the city streets. A man approached him 
wearing some sort of uniform. Maury asked him his name, 

and he introduced himself, saying that his name was C , 

and that he was a bridge guard. On waking, Maury, who 
still doubted the reality of the reminiscence, asked his old 
servant, who had been with him in his childhood, whether she 
remembered a man of this name. " Certainly," was the 
answer, " he used to be watchman on the bridge which your 
father was building at that time." 

Maury reports another example demonstrating just as 
nicely the reliability of infantile reminiscences appearing in 

dreams. Mr. F , who had lived as a child in Montbrison, 

decided to visit his home and old friends of his family after 
an absence of twenty-five years. The night before his de- 
parture he dreamt that he had reached his destination, and 
that he met near Montbrison a man, whom he did not know by 
sight, who told him he was Mr. F., a friend of his father. The 
dreamer remembered that as a child he had known a gentle- 
man of this name, but on waking he could no longer recall his 
features. Several days later, having really arrived at Mont- 
brison, he found the supposedly unknown locality of his dream, 
and there met a man whom he at once recognised as the Mr. F. 
of his dream. The real person was only older than the one in 
the dream picture. 

I may here relate one of my own dreams in which the 
remembered impression is replaced by an association. In my 
dream I saw a person whom I recognised, while dreaming, as 
the physician of my native town. The features were indistinct 
and confused with the picture of one of my colleague teachers, 
whom I still see occasionally. What association there was 
between the two persons I could not discover on awakening. 
But upon questioning my mother about the physician of my 
early childhood, I discovered that he was a one-eyed man. 
My teacher, whose figure concealed that of the physician in 
the dream, was also one-eyed. I have not seen the physician 
for thirty-eight years, and I havo not to my knowledge thought 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 13 

of him in my waking state, although a scar on my chin might 
have reminded me of his help. 

As if to counterbalance the immense role ascribed to the 
infantile impressions in the dream, many authors assert that 
the majority of dreams show elements from the most recent 
time. Thus Robert 55 (p. 46) declares that the normal dream 
generally occupies itself only with the impressions of the 
recent days. We learn indeed that the theory of the dream 
advanced by Robert imperatively demands that the old im- 
pressions should be pushed back, and the recent ones brought 
to the front. Nevertheless the fact claimed by Robert really 
exists ; I can confirm this from my own investigations. 
Nelson, 50 an American author, thinks that the impressions most 
frequently found in the dream date from two or three days 
before, as if the impressions of the day immediately preceding 
the dream were not sufficiently weakened and remote. 

Many authors who are convinced of the intimate connec- 
tion between the dream content and the waking state are im- 
pressed by the fact that impressions which have intensely 
occupied the waking mind appear in the dream only after they 
have been to some extent pushed aside from the elaboration 
of the waking thought. Thus, as a rule, we do not dream of a 
dead beloved person while we are still overwhelmed with 
sorrow. Still Miss Hallam, 33 one of the latest observers, has 
collected examples showing the very opposite behaviour, and 
claims for the point the right of individual psychology. 

The third and the most remarkable and incomprehensible 
peculiarity of the memory in dreams, is shown in the selection 
of the reproduced material, for stress is laid not only on the 
most significant, but also on the most indifferent and super- 
ficial reminiscences. On this point I shall quote those authors 
who have expressed their surprise in the most emphatic manner. 

Hildebrandt 35 (p. 11) : "For it is a remarkable fact that 
dreams do not, as a rule, take their elements from great and 
deep-rooted events or from the powerful and urgent interests 
of the preceding day, but from unimportant matters, from the 
most worthless fragments of recent experience or of a more 
remote past. The most shocking death in our family, the 
impressions of which keep us awake long into the night, be- 
comes obliterated from our memories, until the first moment 



14 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

of awakening brings it back to us with depressing force. On 
the other hand, the wart on the forehead of a passing stranger, 
of whom we did not think for a second after he was out of sight, 
plays its part in our dreams." 

Strümpell 66 (p. 39) : "... such cases where the analysis 
of a dream brings to light elements which, although derived 
from events of the previous day or the day before the last, 
yet prove to be so unimportant and worthless for the waking 
state that they merge into forgetfulness shortly after coming 
to light. Such occurrences may be statements of others 
heard accidentally or actions superficially observed, or fleeting 
perceptions of things or persons, or single phrases from 
books, &c." 

Havelock Ellis 23 (p. 727) : " The profound emotions of 
waking life, the questions and problems on which we spread 
our chief voluntary mental energy, are not those which 
usually present themselves at once to dream-consciousness. 
It is, so far as the immediate past is concerned, mostly the 
trifling, the incidental, the " forgotten " impressions of daily 
life which reappear in our dreams. The psychic activities 
that are awake most intensely are those that sleep most 
profoundly." 

Binz 4 (p. 45) takes occasion from the above-mentioned 
characteristics of the memory in dreams to express his dis- 
satisfaction with explanations of dreams which he himself 
has approved of : " And the normal dream raises similar 
questions. Why do we not always dream of memory im- 
pressions from the preceding days, instead of going back to 
the almost forgotten past lying far behind us without any 
perceptible reason ? Why in a dream does consciousness so 
often revive the impression of indifferent memory pictures 
while the cerebral cells bearing the most sensitive records of 
experience remain for the most part inert and numb, unless an 
acute revival during the waking state has shortly before excited 
them ? " 

We can readily understand how the strange preference 
of the dream memory for the indifferent and hence the 
unnoticed details of daily experience must usually lead us 
to overlook altogether the dependence of the dream on 
the waking state, or at least make it difficult to prove this 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 15 

dependence in any individual case. It thus happened that in 
the statistical treatment of her own and her friend's dreams, 
Miss Whiton Calkins 12 found 11 per cent, of the entire number 
that showed no relation to the waking state. Hildebrandt 
was certainly correct in his assertion that all our dream 
pictures could be genetically explained if we devoted enough 
time and material to the tracing of their origin. To be sure, 
he calls this " a most tedious and thankless job." For it 
would at most lead us to ferret out all kinds of quite worthless 
psychic material from the most remote corners of the memory 
chamber, and to bring to light some very indifferent moments 
from the remote past which were perhaps buried the next 
hour after their appearance." I must, however, express my 
regret that this discerning author refrained from following 
the road whose beginning looked so unpromising ; it would 
have led him directly to the centre of the dream problem. 

The behaviour of the memory in dreams is surely most 
significant for every theory of memory in general. It teaches 
us that " nothing which we have once psychically possessed 
is ever entirely lost " (Scholz 59 ) ; or as Delboeuf puts it, " que 
toute impression meme la plus insignifiante, laisse une trace 
inalterable, indefiniment susceptible de reparaitre au jour," a 
conclusion to which we are urged by so many of the other 
pathological manifestations of the psychic life. Let us now 
bear in mind this extraordinary capability of the memory in 
the dream, in order to perceive vividly the contradictions which 
must be advanced in certain dream theories to be mentioned 
later, when they endeavour to explain the absurdities and 
incoherence of dreams through a partial forgetting of what 
we have known during the day. 

One might even think of reducing the phenomenon of 
dreaming to that of memory, and of regarding the dream as the 
manifestation of an activity of reproduction which does not 
rest even at night, and which is an end in itself. Views like 
those expressed by Pilcz 51 would corroborate this, according 
to which intimate relations are demonstrable between the time 
of dreaming and the contents of the dream from the fact 
that the impressions reproduced by the dream in sound sleep 
belong to the remotest past while those reproduced towards 
morning are of recent origin. But such a conception is rendered 



16 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

improbable from the outset by the manner of the dream's 
behaviour towards the material to be remembered. Strümpell 66 
justly calls our attention to the fact that repetitions of ex- 
periences do not occur in the dream. To be sure the dream 
makes an effort in that direction, but the next link is wanting, 
or appears in changed form, or it is replaced by something 
entirely novel. The dream shows only fragments of repro- 
duction ; this is so often the rule that it admits of theoretical 
application. Still there are exceptions in which the dream 
repeats an episode as thoroughly as our memory would in its 
waking state. Delbceuf tells of one of his university colleagues 
who in his dream repeated, with all its details, a dangerous 
wagon ride in which he escaped accident as if by miracle. 
Miss Calkins 12 mentions two dreams, the contents of which 
exactly reproduced incidents from the day before, and I 
shall later take occasion to report an example which came to 
my notice, showing a childish experience which returned un- 
changed in a dream.* 

(c) Dream Stimuli and Dream Sources. — What is meant 
by dream stimuli and dream sources may be explained by 
referring to the popular saying, " Dreams come from the 
stomach." This notion conceals a theory which conceives 
the dream as a result of a disturbance of sleep. We should 
not have dreamed if some disturbing element had not arisen 
in sleep, and the dream is the reaction from this disturbance. 

The discussion of the exciting causes of dreams takes up 
the most space in the descriptions of the authors. That this 
problem could appear only after the dream had become an 
object of biological investigation is self-evident. The ancients 
who conceived the dream as a divine inspiration had no need 
of looking for its exciting source ; to them the dream resulted 
from the will of the divine or demoniacal powers, and its 
content was the product of their knowledge or intention. 
Science, however, soon raised the question whether the stimulus 
to the dream is always the same, or whether it might be 
manifold, and thus led to the question whether the causal 

* From subsequent experience I am able to state that it is not at all rare 
to find in dreams repetitions of harmless or unimportant occupations of the 
waking state, such as packing trunks, preparing food, work in the kitchen, &c, 
but in such dreams the dreamer himself emphasizes not the character but the 
reality of the memory, " I have really done all this in the day time." 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 17 

explanation of the dream belongs to psychology or rather to 
physiology. Most authors seem to assume that the causes of the 
disturbance of sleep, and hence the sources of the dream, might be 
of various natures, and that physical as well as mental irritations 
might assume the role of dream inciters. Opinions differ greatly 
in preferring this or that one of the dream sources, in ranking 
them, and indeed as to their importance for the origin of dreams. 
Wherever the enumeration of dream sources is complete 
we ultimately find four forms, which are also utilised for the 
division of dreams : — 

I. External (objective) sensory stimuli. 
II. Internal (subjective) sensory stimuli. 

III. Internal (organic) physical excitations. 

IV. Purely psychical exciting sources. 

I. The External Sensory Stimuli. — The younger Strümpell, 
son of the philosopher whose writings on the subject have 
already more than once served us as a guide in the problem 
of dreams, has, as is well known, reported his observations on 
a patient who was afflicted with general anaesthesia of the 
skin and with paralysis of several of the higher sensory organs. 
This man merged into sleep when his few remaining sensory 
paths from the outer world were shut off. When we wish to 
sleep we are wont to strive for a situation resembling the 
one in StrümpelTs experiment. We close the most important 
sensory paths, the eyes, and we endeavour to keep away from 
the other senses every stimulus and every change of the 
stimuli acting upon them. We then fall asleep, although we 
are never perfectly successful in our preparations. We can 
neither keep the stimuli away from the sensory organs 
altogether, nor can we fully extinguish the irritability of the 
sensory organs. That we may at any time be awakened by 
stronger stimuli should prove to us " that the mind has re- 
mained in constant communication with the material world 
even during sleep." The sensory stimuli which reach us during 
sleep may easily become the source of dreams. 

There are a great many stimuli of such nature, ranging 
from those that are unavoidable, being brought on by the 
sleeping state or at least occasionally induced by it, to the 
accidental waking stimuli which are adapted or calculated 
to put an end to sleep. Thus a strong light may force itself 

B 



18 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

into the eyes, a noise may become perceptible, or some odori- 
ferous matter may irritate the mucous membrane of the nose. 
In the spontaneous movements of sleep we may lay bare parts 
of the body and thus expose them to a sensation of cold, or 
through change of position we may produce sensations of 
pressure and touch. A fly may bite us, or a slight accident at 
night may simultaneously attack more than one sense. Ob- 
servers have called attention to a whole series of dreams in 
which the stimulus verified on waking, and a part of the 
dream content corresponded to such a degree that the stimulus 
could be recognised as the source of the dream. 

I shall here cite a number of such dreams collected by 
Jessen 36 (p. 527), traceable to more or less accidental objective 
sensory stimuli. " Every indistinctly perceived noise gives 
rise to corresponding dream pictures ; the rolling of thunder 
takes us into the thick of battle, the crowing of a cock may be 
transformed into human shrieks of terror, and the creaking of a 
door may conjure up dreams of burglars breaking into the 
house. When one of our blankets slips off at night we may 
dream that we are walking about naked or falling into the 
water. If we lie diagonally across the bed with our feet 
extending beyond the edge, we may dream of standing on 
the brink of a terrifying precipice, or of falling from a steep 
height. Should our head accidentally get under the pillow 
we may then imagine a big rock hanging over us and about to 
crush us under its weight. Accumulation of semen produces 
voluptuous dreams, and local pain the idea of suffering ill 
treatment, of hostile attacks, or of accidental bodily injuries." 

" Meier (Versuch einer Erklärung des Nachtwandeins, Halle, 
1758, p. 33), once dreamed of being assaulted by several 
persons who threw him flat on the ground and drove a stake 
into the ground between his big and second toes. While 
imagining this in his dream he suddenly awoke and felt a blade 
of straw sticking between his toes. The same author, accord- 
ing to Hemmings (Von den Traumen und Nachtwandeln, 
Weimar, 1784, p. 258) dreamed on another occasion that he 
was being hanged when his shirt was pinned somewhat tight 
around his neck. Hauffbauer dreamed in his youth of having 
fallen from a high wall and found upon waking that the bed- 
stead had come apart, and that he had actually fallen to the 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 19 

floor. . . . Gregory relates that he once applied a hot-water 
bottle to his feet, and dreamed of taking a trip to the summit 
of Mount Mtna, where he found the heat on the ground almost 
unbearable. After having applied a blistering plaster to his 
head, a second man dreamed of being scalped by Indians ; a 
third, whose shirt was damp, dreamed of being dragged through 
a stream. An attack of gout caused the patient to believe 
that he was in the hands of the Inquisition, and suffering pains 
of torture (Macnish)." 

The argument based upon the resemblance between 
stimulus and dream content is reinforced if through a sys- 
tematic induction of stimuli we succeed in producing dreams 
corresponding to the stimuli. According -to Macnish such 
experiments have already been made by Giron de Buzareingues. 
" He left his knee exposed and dreamed of travelling in a 
mail coach at night. He remarked in this connection that 
travellers would well know how cold the knees become in a 
coach at night. Another time he left the back of his head 
uncovered, and dreamed of taking part in a religious ceremony 
in the open air. In the country where he lived it was customary 
to keep the head always covered except on such occasions." 

Maury 48 reports new observations on dreams produced in 
himself. (A number of other attempts produced no results.) 

1. He was tickled with a feather on his lips and on the tip 
of his nose. He dreamed of awful torture, viz. that a mask 
of pitch was stuck to his face and then forcibly torn off, 
taking the skin with it. 

2. Scissors were sharpened on pincers. He heard bells 
ringing, then sounds of alarm which took him back to the 
June days of 1848. 

3. Cologne water was put on his nose. He found himself 
in Cairo in the shop of John Maria Farina. This was followed 
by mad adventures which he was unable to reproduce. 

4. His neck was lightly pinched. He dreamed that a 
blistering plaster was put on him, and thought of a doctor 
who treated him in his childhood. 

5. A hot iron was brought near his face. He dreamed 
that chauffeurs * broke into the house and forced the occupants 

* Cliauffeurs were bands of robbers in the Vendee who resorted to this 
form of torture. 



20 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

to give up their money by sticking their feet into burning 
coals. The Duchess of Abrantes, whose secretary he imagined 
himself in the dream, then entered. 

6. A drop of water was let fall on his forehead. He 
imagined himself in Italy perspiring heavily and drinking 
white wine of Orvieto. 

7. When a burning candle was repeatedly focussed on him 
through red paper, he dreamed of the weather, of heat, and of a 
storm at sea which he once experienced in the English Channel. 

D'Hervey, 34 Weygandt, 75 and others have made other 
attempts to produce dreams experimentally. 

Many have observed the striking skill of the dream in 
interweaving into its structure sudden impressions from the 
outer world in such a manner as to present a gradually pre- 
pared and initiated catastrophe (Hildebrandt) 35 . " In 
former years," this author relates, " I occasionally made use 
of an alarm clock in order to wake regularly at a certain 
hour in the morning. It probably happened hundreds of 
times that the sound of this instrument fitted into an ap- 
parently very long and connected dream, as if the entire 
dream had been especially designed for it, as if it found in 
this sound its appropriate and logically indispensable point, 
its inevitable issue." 

I shall cite three of these alarm-clock dreams for another 
purpose. 

Volkelt (p. 68) relates : " A composer once dreamed that 
he was teaching school, and was just explaining something to 
his pupils. He had almost finished when he turned to one 
of the boys with the question : ' Did you understand me ? ' 
The boy cried out like one possessed ' Ya.' Annoyed at this, 
he reprimanded him for shouting. But now the entire class 
was screaming ' Orya,' then ' Euryo,' and finally ' Feueryo.' 
He was now aroused by an actual alarm of fire in the street." 

Gamier (Traitd des Facultas de VAme, 1865), reported by 
Radestock, 54 relates that Napoleon I., while sleeping in a 
carriage, was awakened from a dream by an explosion which 
brought back to him the crossing of the Tagliamento and the 
bombarding of the Austrians, so that he started up crying, 
" We are undermined ! " 

The following dream of Maury 48 has become celebrated. 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 21 

He was sick, and remained in bed ; his mother sat beside 
him. He then dreamed of the reign of terror at the time of 
the Revolution. He took part in terrible scenes of murder, 
and finally he himself was summoned before the Tribunal. 
There he saw Robespierre, Marat, Fouquier-Tinville, and all 
the sorry heroes of that cruel epoch ; he had to give an account 
of himself, and, after all sort of incidents which did not fix 
themselves in his memory, he was sentenced to death. Accom- 
panied by an enormous crowd, he was led to the place of 
execution. He mounted the scaffold, the executioner tied him 
to the board, it tipped, and the knife of the guillotine fell. He 
felt his head severed from the trunk, and awakened in terrible 
anxiety, only to find that the top piece of the bed had fallen 
down, and had actually struck his cervical vertebra in the 
same manner as the knife of a guillotine. 

This dream gave rise to an interesting discussion introduced 
by Le Lorrain 45 and Egger 20 in the Revue Philosophique. 
The question was whether, and how, it was possible for the 
dreamer to crowd together an amount of dream content 
apparently so large in the short space of time elapsing between 
the perception of the waking stimulus and the awakening. 

Examples of this nature make it appear that the objective 
stimuli during sleep are the most firmly established of all 
the dream sources ; indeed, it is the only stimulus which plays 
any part in the layman's knowledge. If we ask an educated 
person, who is, however, unacquainted with the literature of 
dreams, how dreams originate, he is sure to answer by referring 
to a case familiar to him in which a dream has been explained 
after waking by a recognised objective stimulus. Scientific 
investigation cannot, however, stop here, but is incited to 
further research by the observation that the stimulus in- 
fluencing the senses during sleep does not appear in the dream 
at all in its true form, but is replaced by some other presenta- 
tion which is in some way related to it. But the relation 
existing between the stimulus and the result of the dream is, 
according to Maury, 47 " une affmite quelconque mais qui n'est 
pas unique et exclusive " (p. 72). If we read, e.g., three of 
Hildebrandt's " Alarm Clock Dreams," we will then have to 
inquire why the same stimulus evoked so many different 
results, and why just these results and no others. 



22 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

(P. 37). " I am taking a walk on a beautiful spring morning. 
I saunter through the green fields to a neighbouring village, 
where I see the natives going to church in great numbers, 
wearing their holiday attire and carrying their hymn-books 
under their arms. I remember that it is Sunday, and that 
the morning service will soon begin. I decide to attend it, 
but as I am somewhat overheated I also decide to cool off 
in the cemetery surrounding the church. While reading the 
various epitaphs, I hear the sexton ascend the tower and see the 
small village bell in the cupola which is about to give signal for 
the beginning of the devotions. For another short while it 
hangs motionless, then it begins to swing, and suddenly its 
notes resound so clearly and penetratingly that my sleep 
comes to an end. But the sound of bells comes from the 
alarm clock." 

" A second combination. It is a clear day, the streets are 
covered with deep snow. I have promised to take part in a 
sleigh-ride, but have had to wait for some time before it was 
announced that the sleigh is in front of my house. The 
preparations for getting into the sleigh are now made. I put 
on my furs and adjust my muff, and at last I am in my place. 
But the departure is still delayed, until the reins give the 
impatient horses the perceptible sign. They start, and the 
sleigh bells, now forcibly shaken, begin their familiar janizary 
music with a force that instantly tears the gossamer of my 
dream. Again it is only the shrill sound of my alarm clock." 

Still a third example. " I see the kitchen-maid walk along 
the corridor to the dining-room with several dozen plates 
piled up. The porcelain column in her arms seems to me to 
be in danger of losing its equilibrium. ' Take care,' I ex- 
claim, ' you will drop the whole pile.' The usual retort is 
naturally not wanting — that she is used to such things. Mean- 
while I continue to follow her with my worried glance, and 
behold ! at the door-step the fragile dishes fall, tumble, and 
roll across the floor in hundreds of pieces. But I soon notice 
that the noise continuing endlessly is not really a rattling but 
a true ringing, and with this ringing the dreamer now becomes 
aware that the alarm clock has done its duty." 

The question why the dreaming mind misjudges the nature 
of the objective sensory stimulus has been answered by 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 23 

Strümpell, 66 and almost identically by Wundt, 76 to the effect 
that the reaction of the mind to the attacking stimuli in sleep 
is determined by the formation of illusions. A sensory im- 
pression is recognised by us and correctly interpreted, i.e. it 
is classed with the memory group to which it belongs according 
to all previous experience, if the impression is strong, clear, 
and long enough, and if we have the necessary time at our 
disposal for this reflection. If these conditions are not fulfilled, 
we mistake the objects which give rise to the impression, and 
on its basis we form an illusion. " If one takes a walk in an 
open field and perceives indistinctly a distant object, it may 
happen that he will at first take it for a horse." On closer 
inspection the image of a cow resting may obtrude itself, and 
the presentation may finally resolve itself with certainty into 
a group of people sitting. The impressions which the mind 
receives during sleep through outer stimuli are of a similar 
indistinct nature ; they give rise to illusions because the 
impression evokes a greater or lesser number of memory 
pictures through which the impression receives its psychic 
value. In which of the many spheres of memory to be taken 
into consideration the corresponding pictures are aroused, 
and which of the possible association connections thereby 
come into force, this, even according to Strümpell, remains 
indeterminable, and is left, as it were, to the caprice of the 
psychic life. 

We may here take our choice. We may admit that the 
laws of the dream formation cannot really be traced any 
further, and therefore refrain from asking whether or not the 
interpretation of the illusion evoked by the sensory impression 
depends upon still other conditions ; or we may suppose that 
the objective sensory stimulus encroaching upon sleep plays 
only a modest part as a dream source, and that other factors 
determine the choice of the memory picture to be evoked. 
Indeed, on carefully examining Maury's experimentally produced 
dreams, which I have purposely reported in detaü, one is apt 
to think that the experiment really explains the origin of only 
one of the dream elements, and that the rest of the dream 
content appears in fact too independent, too much determined 
in detail, to be explained by the one demand, viz. that it must 
agree with the element experimentally introduced. Indeed 



24 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

one even begins to doubt the illusion theory, and the power of 
the objective impression to form the dream, when one learns 
that this impression at times experiences the most peculiar 
and far-fetched interpretations during the sleeping state. 
Thus B. M. Simon 63 tells of a dream in which he saw persons 
of gigantic stature * seated at a table, and heard distinctly the 
awful rattling produced by the impact of their jaws while 
chewing. On waking he heard the clacking of the hoofs of a 
horse galloping past his window. If the noise of the horse's 
hoofs had recalled ideas from the memory sphere of " Gulliver's 
Travels," the sojourn with the giants of Brobdingnag and the 
virtuous horse-creatures — as I should perhaps interpret it 
without any assistance on the author's part — should not the 
choice of a memory sphere so uncommon for the stimulus have 
some further illumination from other motives ? 

II. Internal {Subjective) Sensory Stimuli. — Notwithstanding 
all objections to the contrary, we must admit that the role of 
the objective sensory stimuli as a producer of dreams has been 
indisputably established, and if these stimuli seem perhaps 
insufficient in their nature and frequency to explain all dream 
pictures, we are then directed to look for other dream sources 
acting in an analogous manner. I do not know where the 
idea originated that along with the outer sensory stimuli the 
inner (subjective) stimuli should also be considered, but as a 
matter of fact this is done more or less fully in all the more 
recent descriptions of the etiology of dreams. " An important 
part is played in dream illusions," says Wundt 36 (p. 363), 
" by those subjective sensations of seeing and hearing which 
are familiar to us in the waking state as a luminous chaos in 
the dark field of vision, ringing, buzzing, &c, of the ears, and 
especially irritation of the retina. This explains the remark- 
able tendency of the dream to delude the eyes with numbers of 
similar or identical objects. Thus we see spread before our eyes 
numberless birds, butterflies, fishes, coloured beads, flowers, &c. 
Here the luminous dust in the dark field of vision has taken on 
phantastic figures, and the many luminous points of which it 
consists are embodied by the dream in as many single pictures, 
which are looked upon as moving objects owing to the mobility 

* Gigantic persons in a dream justify the assumption that it deals with 
a scene from the dreamer's childhood. 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 25 

of the luminous chaos. This is also the root of the great 
fondness of the dream for the most complex animal figures, 
the multiplicity of forms readily following the form of the 
subjective light pictures." 

The subjective sensory stimuli as a source of the dream 
have the obvious advantage that unlike the objective stimuli 
they are independent of external accidents. They are, so to 
speak, at the disposal of the explanation as often as it needs 
them. They are, however, in so far inferior to the objective 
sensory stimuli that the role of dream inciter, which observa- 
tion and experiment have proven for the latter, can be verified 
in their case only with difficulty or not at all. The main proof 
for the dream-inciting power of subjective sensory excitements 
is offered by the so-called hypnogogic hallucinations, which 
have been described by John Müller as " phantastic visual 
manifestations." They are those very vivid and changeable 
pictures which occur regularly in many people during the 
period of falling asleep, and which may remain for awhile even 
after the eyes have been opened. Maury, 48 who was consider- 
ably troubled by them, subjected them to a thorough study, 
and maintained that they are related to or rather identical 
with dream pictures — this has already been asserted by John 
Müller. Maury states that a certain psychic passivity is 
necessary for their origin ; it requires a relaxation of the tension 
of attention (p. 59). But in any ordinary disposition a hypno- 
gogic hallucination may be produced by merging for a second 
into such lethargy, after which one perhaps awakens until this 
oft-repeated process terminates in sleep. According to Maury, 
if one awakens shortly thereafter, it is often possible to demon- 
strate the same pictures in the dream which one has perceived 
as hypnogogic hallucinations before falling asleep (p. 134). 
Thus it once happened to Maury with a group of pictures of 
grotesque figures, with distorted features and strange head- 
dresses, which obtruded themselves upon him with incredible 
importunity during the period of falling asleep, and which 
he recalled having dreamed upon awakening. On another 
occasion, while suffering from hunger, because he kept himself 
on a rather strict diet, he saw hypnogogically a plate and a 
hand armed with a fork taking some food from the plate. In 
his dream he f ound himself at a table abundantly supplied with 



26 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

food, and heard the rattle made by the diners with their forks. 
On still another occasion, after falling asleep with irritated 
and painful eyes, he had the hypnogogic hallucination of 
seeing microscopically small characters which he was forced 
to decipher one by one with great exertion ; having been 
awakened from his sleep an hour later, he recalled a dream 
in which there was an open book with very small letters, which 
he was obliged to read through with laborious effort. 

Just as in the case of these pictures, auditory hallucinations 
of words, names, &c, may also appear hypnogogically, and 
then repeat themselves in the dream, like an overture announc- 
ing the principal motive of the opera which is to follow. 

A more recent observer of hypnogogic hallucinations, 
G. Trumbull Ladd, 40 takes the same path pursued by John 
Müller and Maury. By dint of practice he succeeded in 
acquiring the faculty of suddenly arousing himself, without 
opening his eyes, two to five minutes after having gradually 
fallen asleep, which gave him opportunity to compare the 
sensations of the retina just vanishing with the dream pictures 
remaining in his memory. He assures us that an intimate 
relation between the two can always be recognised, in the 
sense that the luminous dots and lines of the spontaneous light 
of the retina produced, so to speak, the sketched outline or 
scheme for the psychically perceived dream figures. A dream, 
e.g., in which he saw in front of him clearly printed lines which 
he read and studied, corresponded to an arrangement of the 
luminous dots and lines in the retina in parallel lines, or, to 
express it in his own words : " The clearly printed page, 
which he was reading in the dream, resolved itself into an 
object which appeared to his waking perception like part of an 
actual printed sheet looked at through a little hole in a piece 
of paper, from too great a distance to be made out distinctly." 
Without in any way under-estimating the central part of the 
phenomenon, Ladd believes that hardly any visual dream 
occurs in our minds that is not based on material furnished 
by this inner condition of stimulation in the retina. This is 
particularly true of dreams occurring shortly after falling asleep 
in a dark room, while dreams occurring in the morning near the 
period of awakening receive their stimulation from the ob- 
jective fight penetrating the eye from the lightened room. 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 27 

The shifting and endlessly variable character of the spon- 
taneous luminous excitation of the retina corresponds exactly 
to the fitful succession of pictures presented to us in our 
dreams. If we attach any importance to Ladd's observations, 
we cannot underrate the productiveness of this subjective 
source of excitation for the dream ; for visual pictures ap- 
parently form the principal constituent of our dreams. The 
share furnished from the spheres of the other senses, beside 
the sense of hearing, is more insignificant and inconstant. 

III. Internal {Organic) Physical Excitation. — If we are dis- 
posed to seek dream sources not outside, but inside, the 
organism, we must remember that almost all our internal 
organs, which in their healthy state hardly remind us of their 
existence, may, in states of excitation — as we call them — or 
in disease, become for us a source of the most painful sensa- 
tions, which must be put on an equality with the external 
excitants of the pain and sensory stimuli. It is on the strength 
of very old experience that, e.g., Strümpell 66 declares that 
" during sleep the mind becomes far more deeply and broadly 
conscious of its connection with the body than in the waking 
state, and it is compelled to receive and be influenced by 
stimulating impressions originating in parts and changes of the 
body of which it is unconscious in the waking state." Even 
Aristotle x declares it quite possible that the dream should 
draw our attention to incipient morbid conditions which we 
have not noticed at all in the waking state (owing to the 
exaggeration given by the dream to the impressions ; and 
some medical authors, who were certainly far from believing 
in any prophetic power of the dream, have admitted this 
significance of the dream at least for the foretelling of disease. 
(Compare M. Simon, p. 31, and many older authors.) 

Even in our times there seems to be no lack of authenticated 
examples of such diagnostic performances on the part of the 
dream. Thus Tissie 68 cites from Artigues (Essai sur la Valeur 
s6m6iologique des Reves), the history of a woman of forty-three 
years, who, during several years of apparently perfect health, 
was troubled with anxiety dreams, and in whom medical 
examination later disclosed an incipient affection of the heart 
to which she soon succumbed. 

Serious disturbances of the internal organs apparently act 



28 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

as inciters of dreams in a considerable number of persons. 
Attention is quite generally called to the frequency of anxiety 
dreams in the diseases of the heart and lungs ; indeed this 
relation of the dream life is placed so conspicuously in the 
foreground by many authors that I shall here content myself 
with a mere reference to the literature. (Radestock, 54 Spitta, 64 
Maury, M. Simon, Tissie.) Tissie even assumes that the 
diseased organs impress upon the dream content their char- 
acteristic features. The dreams of persons suffering from 
diseases of the heart are generally very brief and terminate 
in a terrified awakening ; the situation of death under terrible 
circumstances almost always plays a part in their content. 
Those suffering from diseases of the lungs dream of suffocation, 
of being crowded, and of flight, and a great many of them are 
subject to the well-known nightmare, which, by the way, 
Boerner has succeeded in producing experimentally by lying 
on the face and closing up the openings of the respiratory 
organs. In digestive disturbances the dream contains ideas 
from the sphere of enjoyment and disgust. Finally, the 
influence of sexual excitement on the dream content is per- 
ceptible enough in every one's experience, and lends the strongest 
support to the entire theory of the dream excitation through 
organic sensation. 

Moreover, as we go through the literature of the dream, 
it becomes quite obvious that some of the authors (Maury, 48 
Weygandt 75 ) have been led to the study of dream problems 
by the influence of their own pathological state on the content 
of their dreams. 

The addition to dream sources from these undoubtedly 
established facts is, however, not as important as one might 
be led to suppose ; for the dream is a phenomenon which 
occurs in healthy persons — perhaps in all persons, and every 
night — and a pathological state of the organs is apparently 
not one of its indispensable conditions. For us, however, 
the question is not whence particular dreams originate, but 
what may be the exciting source for the ordinary dreams of 
normal persons. 

But we need go only a step further to find a dream source 
which is more prolific than any of those mentioned above, 
which indeed promises to be inexhaustible in every case. If 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 29 

it is established that the bodily organs become in sickness 
an exciting source of dreams, and if we admit that the mind, 
diverted during sleep from the outer world, can devote more 
attention to the interior of the body, we may readily assume 
that the organs need not necessarily become diseased in order 
to permit stimuli, which in some way or other grow into 
dream pictures, to reach the sleeping mind. What in the 
waking state we broadly perceive as general sensation, distin- 
guishable by its quality alone, to which, in the opinion of the 
physicians, all the organic systems contribute their shares — 
this general sensation at night attaining powerful efficiency 
and becoming active with its individual components — would 
naturally furnish the most powerful as well as the most common 
source for the production of the dream presentations. It still 
remains, however, to examine according to what rule the 
organic sensations become transformed into dream presenta- 
tions. 

The theory of the origin of dreams just stated has been the 
favourite with all medical authors. The obscurity which 
conceals the essence of our being — the " moi splanchnique," as 
Tissie terms it — from our knowledge and the obscurity of the 
origin of the dream correspond too well not to be brought into 
relation with each other. The train of thought which makes 
organic sensation the inciter of the dream has besides another 
attraction for the physician, inasmuch as it favours the etio- 
logical union of the dream and mental diseases, which show so 
many agreements in their manifestations, for alterations in 
the organic sensations and excitations emanating from the 
inner organs are both of wide significance in the origin of the 
psychoses. It is therefore not surprising that the theory of 
bodily sensation can be traced to more than one originator 
who has propounded it independently. 

A number of authors have been influenced by the train 
of ideas developed by the philosopher Schopenhauer in 1851. 
Our conception of the universe originates through the fact 
that our intellect recasts the impressions coming to it from 
without in the moulds of time, space, and causality. The 
sensations from the interior of the organism, proceeding from 
the sympathetic nervous system, exert in the day-time an 
influence on our mood for the most part unconscious. At 



30 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

night, however, when the overwhelming influence of the 
day's impressions is no longer felt, the impressions pressing 
upward from the interior are able to gain attention — just as 
in the night we hear the rippling of the spring that was rendered 
inaudible by the noise of the day. In what other way, then, 
could the intellect react upon these stimuli than by performing 
its characteristic function ? It will transform the stimuli 
into figures, fillin g space and time, which move at the beginning 
of causality ; and thus the dream originates. Scherner, 58 
and after him Volkelt, 72 attempted to penetrate into closer 
relations between physical sensations and dream pictures ; 
but we shall reserve the discussion of these attempts for the 
chapter on the theory of the dream. 

In a study particularly logical in its development, the 
psychiatrist Krauss 39 found the origin of the dream as well 
as of deliria and delusions in the same element, viz. the 
organically determined sensation. According to this author 
there is hardly a place in the organism which might not become 
the starting point of a dream or of a delusion. Now organically 
determined sensations " may be divided into two classes : 
(1) those of the total feeling (general sensations), (2) specific 
sensations which are inherent in the principal systems of the 
vegetative organism, which may be divided into five groups : 
(a) the muscular, (&) the pneumatic, (c) the gastric, (d) the 
sexual, (e) the peripheral sensations (p. 33 of the second article)." 

The origin of the dream picture on the basis of the physical 
sensations is conceived by Krauss as follows : The awakened 
sensation evokes a presentation related to it in accordance 
with some law of association, and combines with this, thus 
forming an organic structure, towards which, however, con- 
sciousness does not maintain its normal attitude. For it does 
not bestow any attention on the sensation itself, but concerns 
itself entirely with the accompanying presentation ; this is 
likewise the reason why the state of affairs in question should 
have been so long misunderstood (p. 11, &c). Krauss finds 
for this process the specific term of " transubstantiation of the 
feeling into dream pictures " (p. 24). 

That the organic bodily sensations exert some influence on 
the formation of the dream is nowadays almost universally 
acknowledged, but the question as to the law underlying the 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 31 

relation between the two is answered in various ways and 
often in obscure terms. On the basis of the theory of bodily 
excitation the special task of dream interpretation is to trace 
back the content of a dream to the causative organic stimulus, 
and if we do not recognise the rules of interpretation advanced 
by Scherner, 58 we frequently find ourselves confronted with 
the awkward fact that the organic exciting source reveals 
itself in the content of the dream only. 

A certain agreement, however, is manifested in the inter- 
pretation of the various forms of dreams which have been 
designated as " typical " because they recur in so many persons 
with almost the same contents. Among these are the well- 
known dreams of falling from heights, of the falling out of 
teeth, of flying, and of embarrassment because of being naked 
or barely clad. This last dream is said to be caused simply 
by the perception felt in sleep that one has thrown off the bed- 
cover and is exposed. The dream of the falling out of teeth is 
explained by " dental irritation," which does not, however, of 
necessity imply a morbid state of excitation in the teeth. 
According to Strümpell, 66 the flying dream is the adequate 
picture used by the mind to interpret the sum of excitation 
emanating from the rising and sinking of the pulmonary lobes 
after the cutaneous sensation of the thorax has been reduced 
to insensibility. It is this latter circumstance that causes a 
sensation related to the conception of flying. Falling from 
a height in a dream is said to have its cause in the fact that 
when unconsciousness of the sensation of cutaneous pressure 
has set in, either an arm falls away from the body or a flexed 
knee is suddenly stretched out, causing the feeling of cutaneous 
pressure to return to consciousness, and the transition to 
consciousness embodies itself psychically as a dream of falling. 
(Strümpell, p. 118). The weakness of these plausible attempts 
at explanation evidently lies in the fact that without any 
further elucidation they allow this or that group of organic 
sensations to disappear from psychic perception or to obtrude 
themselves upon it until the constellation favourable for the 
explanation has been established. I shall, however, later 
have occasion to recur to typical dreams and to their origin. 

From comparison of a series of similar dreams, M. Simon 63 
endeavoured to formulate certain rules for the influence of the 



32 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

organic sensations on the determination of the resulting dream. 
He says (p. 34) : " If any organic apparatus, which during 
sleep normally participates in the expression of an affect, for 
any reason merges into the state of excitation to which it is 
usually aroused by that affect, the dream thus produced will 
contain presentations which fit the affect." 

Another rule reads as follows (p. 35) : " If an organic 
apparatus is in a state of activity, excitation, or disturbance 
during sleep, the dream will bring ideas which are related to 
the exercise of the organic function which is performed by 
that apparatus." 

Mourly Void 73 has undertaken to prove experimentally 
the influence assumed by the theory of bodily sensation for a 
single territory. He has made experiments in altering the 
positions of the sleeper's limbs, and has compared the resulting 
dream with his alterations. As a result he reports the following 
theories : — 

1. The position of a limb in a dream corresponds approxi- 
mately to that of reality, i.e. we dream of a static condition of 
the limb which corresponds to the real condition. 

2. When one dreams of a moving limb it always happens 
that one of the positions occurring in the execution of this 
movement corresponds to the real position. 

3. The position of one's own limb may be attributed in the 
dream to another person. 

4. One may dream further that the movement in question 
is impeded. 

5. The limb in any particular position may appear in the 
dream as an animal or monster, in which case a certain analogy 
between the two is established. 

6. The position of a limb may incite in the dream ideas 
which bear some relation or other to this limb. Thus, e.g., 
if we are employed with the fingers we dream of numerals. 

Such results would lead me to conclude that even the 
theory of bodily sensation cannot fully extinguish the apparent 
freedom in the determination of the dream picture to be 
awakened.* 

* The first volume of this Norwegian author, containing a complete de- 
scription of dreams, has recently appeared in German. See Index of 
Literature, No. 74 a. 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 33 

IV. Psychic Exciting Sources. — In treating the relations of 
the dream to the waking life and the origin of the dream 
material, we learned that the earliest as well as the latest 
investigators agreed that men dream of what they are doing 
in the day-time, and of what they are interested in during the 
waking state. This interest continuing from waking life into 
sleep, besides being a psychic tie joining the dream to life, also 
furnishes us a dream source not to be under-estimated, which, 
taken with those stimuli which become interesting and active 
during sleep, suffices to explain the origin of all dream pictures. 
But we have also heard the opposite of the above assertion, 
viz. that the dream takes the sleeper away from the interests 
of the day, and that in most cases we do not dream of things 
that have occupied our attention during the day until after 
they have lost for the waking life the stimulus of actuality. 
Hence in the analysis of the dream life we are reminded at 
every step that it is inadmissible to frame general rules without 
making provision for qualifications expressed by such terms 
as "frequently," "as a rule," "in most cases," and without 
preparing for the validity of the exceptions. 

If the conscious interest, together with the inner and outer 
sleep stimuli, sufficed to cover the etiology of the dreams, we 
ought to be in a position to give a satisfactory account of the 
origin of all the elements of a dream ; the riddle of the dream 
sources would thus be solved, leaving only the task of separat- 
ing the part played by the psychic and the somatic dream stimuli 
in individual dreams. But as a matter of fact no such com- 
plete solution of a dream has ever been accomplished in any 
case, and, what is more, every one attempting such solution 
has found that in most cases there have remained a great 
many components of the dream, the source of which he was 
unable to explain. The daily interest as a psychic source of 
dreams is evidently not far-reaching enough to justify the 
confident assertions to the effect that we all continue our 
waking affairs in the dream. 

Other psychic sources of dreams are unknown. Hence, 
with the exception perhaps of the explanation of dreams given 
by Scherner, 58 which will be referred to later, all explanations 
found in the literature show a large gap when we come to the 
derivation of the material for the presentation pictures, which 

c 



34 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

is most characteristic for the dream. In this dilemma the 
majority of authors have developed a tendency to depreciate 
as much as possible the psychic factor in the excitations of 
dreams which is so difficult to approach. To be sure, they 
distinguish as a main division of dreams the nerve-exciting 
and the association dreams, and assert that the latter has its 
source exclusively in reproduction (Wundt, 76 p. 365), but they 
cannot yet dismiss the doubt whether " they do not appear 
without being impelled by the psychical stimulus " (Volkelt, 72 
p. 127). The characteristic quality of the pure association 
dream is also found wanting. To quote Volkelt (p. 118) : "In 
the association dreams proper we can no longer speak of such 
a firm nucleus. Here the loose grouping penetrates also into 
the centre of the dream. The ideation which is already set 
free from reason and intellect is here no longer held together 
by the more important psychical and mental stimuli, but is 
left to its own aimless shifting and complete confusion." 
Wundt, too, attempts to depreciate the psychic factor in the 
stimulation of dreams by declaring that the " phantasms of 
the dream certainly are unjustly regarded as pure hallucina- 
tions, and that probably most dream presentations are really 
illusions, inasmuch as they emanate from slight sensory im- 
pressions which are never extinguished during sleep " (p. 
338, &c). Weygandt 75 agrees with this view, but generalises 
it. He asserts that " the first source of all dream presentations 
is a sensory stimulus to which reproductive associations are 
then joined " (p. 17). Tissie 68 goes still further in repressing 
the psychic exciting sources (p. 183) : " Les reves d'origine 
absolument psychique n'existent pas " ; and elsewhere (p. 6), 
" Les pensees de nos reves nous viennent de dehors ..." 

Those authors who, like the influential philosopher Wundt, 
adopt a middle course do not fail to remark that in most 
dreams there is a co-operation of the somatic stimuli with 
the psychic instigators of the dream, the latter being either 
unknown or recognised as day interests. 

We shall learn later that the riddle of the dream formation 
can be solved by the disclosure of an unsuspected psychic 
source of excitement. For the present we shall not be surprised 
at the over-estimation of those stimuli for the formation of 
the dream which do not originate from psychic life. It is 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 35 

not merely because they alone can easily be found and even 
confirmed by experiment, but the somatic conception of the 
origin of dreams thoroughly corresponds to the mode of 
thinking in vogue nowadays in psychiatry. Indeed, the 
mastery of the brain over the organism is particularly em- 
phasized ; but everything that might prove an independence 
of the psychic life from the demonstrable organic changes, or a 
spontaneity in its manifestations, is alarming to the psychiatrist 
nowadays, as if an acknowledgment of the same were bound to 
bring back the times of natural philosophy and the meta- 
physical conception of the psychic essence. The distrust of 
the psychiatrist has placed the psyche under a guardian, so 
to speak, and now demands that none of its feelings shall 
divulge any of its own faculties ; but this attitude shows slight 
confidence in the stability of the causal concatenation which 
extends between the material and the psychic. Even where 
on investigation the psychic can be recognised as the primary 
course of a phenomenon, a more profound penetration will 
some day succeed in finding a continuation of the path to the 
organic determination of the psychic. But where the psychic 
must be taken as the terminus for our present knowledge, it 
should not be denied on that account. 

(d) Why the Dream is Forgotten after Awakening. — That the 
dream " fades away " in the morning is proverbial. To be 
sure, it is capable of recollection. For we know the dream 
only by recalling it after awakening ; but very often we 
believe that we remember it only incompletely, and that 
during the night there was more of it ; we can observe how 
the memory of a dream which has been still vivid in the 
morning vanishes in the course of the day, leaving only a few 
small fragments ; we often know that we have been dreaming, 
but we do not know what ; and we are so well used to the 
fact that the dream is liable to be forgotten that we do not 
reject as absurd the possibility that one may have been 
dreaming even when one knows nothing in the morning of 
either the contents or the fact of dreaming. On the other hand, 
it happens that dreams manifest an extraordinary retentive- 
ness in the memory. I have had occasion to analyse with my 
patients dreams which had occurred to them twenty-five 
years or more previously, and I can remember a dream of my 



36 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

own which is separated from the present day by at least thirty- 
seven years, and yet has lost nothing of its freshness in my 
memory. All this is very remarkable, and for the present 
incomprehensible. 

The forgetting of dreams is treated in the most detailed 
manner by Strümpell. 66 This forgetting is evidently a complex 
phenomenon ; for Strümpell does not explain it by a single 
reason, but by a considerable number of reasons. 

In the first place, all those factors which produce forgetful- 
ness in the waking state are also determinant for the forgetting 
of dreams. When awake we are wont soon to forget a large 
number of sensations and perceptions because they are too 
feeble, and because they are connected with a slight amount 
of emotional feeling. This is also the case with many dream 
pictures ; they are forgotten because they are too weak, while 
stronger pictures in proximity will be remembered. Moreover, 
the factor of intensity in itself is not the only determinant 
for the preservation of the dream pictures ; Strümpell, as well 
as other authors (Calkins), admits that dream pictures are 
often rapidly forgotten, although they are known to have been 
vivid, whereas among those that are retained in memory 
there are many that are very shadowy and hazy. Besides, in 
the waking state one is wont to forget easily what happened 
only once, and to note more easily things of repeated occurrence. 
But most dream pictures are single experiences,* and this 
peculiarity equally contributes towards the forgetting of all 
dreams. Of greater significance is a third motive for forgetting. 
In order that feelings, presentations, thoughts and the like, 
should attain a certain degree of memory, it is important that 
they should not remain isolated, but that they should enter 
into connections and associations of a suitable kind. If the 
words of a short verse are taken and mixed together, it will be 
very difficult to remember them. " When well arranged in 
suitable sequence one word will help another, and the whole 
remains as sense easily and firmly in the memory for a long 
time. Contradictions we usually retain with just as much 
difficulty and rarity as things confused and disarranged." 
Now dreams in most cases lack sense and order. Dream 

* Periodically recurrent dreams have been observed repeatedly. Cf. 
the collection of Chabaneix. 11 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 37 

compositions are by their very nature incapable of being 
remembered, and they are forgotten because they usually 
crumble together the very next moment. To be sure, these 
conclusions are not in full accord with the observation of 
Radestock 54 (p. 168), that we retain best just those dreams 
which are most peculiar. 

According to Strümpell, there are still other factors effective 
in the forgetting of dreams which are derived from the relation 
of the dream to the waking state. The forgetfulness of the 
waking consciousness for dreams is evidently only the counter- 
part of the fact already mentioned, that the dream (almost) 
never takes over successive memories from the waking state, 
but only certain details of these memories which it tears away 
from the habitual psychic connections in which they are re- 
called while we are awake. The dream composition, therefore, 
has no place in the company of psychic successions which fill 
the mind. It lacks all the aids of memory. " In this manner 
the dream structure rises, as it were, from the soil of our 
psychic life, and floats in psychic space like a cloud in the sky, 
which the next breath of air soon dispels " (p. 87). This is 
also aided by the fact that, upon awakening, the attention is 
immediately seized by the inrushing sensory world, and only 
very few dream pictures can withstand this power. They fade 
away before the impressions of the new day like the glow of 
the stars before the sunlight. 

As a last factor favouring the forgetting of dreams, we may 
mention the fact that most people generally take little interest 
in their dreams. One who investigates dreams for a time, 
and takes a special interest in them, usually dreams more 
during that time than at any other ; that is, he remembers 
his dreams more easily and more frequently. 

Two other reasons for the forgetting of dreams added by 
Bonatelli (given by Benini 3 ) to those of Strümpell have already 
been included in the latter ; namely, (1) that the change of the 
general feeling between the sleeping and waking states is un- 
favourable to the mutual reproductions, and (2) that the 
different arrangement of the presentation material in the 
dream makes the dream untranslatable, so to speak, for the 
waking consciousness. 

It is the more remarkable, as Strümpell observes, that, in 



38 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

spite of all these reasons for forgetting the dream, so many 
dreams are retained in memory. The continued efforts of the 
authors to formulate laws for the remembering of dreams 
amounts to an admission that here too there is something 
puzzling and unsolved. Certain peculiarities relating to the 
memory of dreams have been particularly noticed of late, e.g., 
that a dream which is considered forgotten in the morning may 
be recalled in the course of the day through a perception 
which accidentally touches the forgotten content of the dream 
(Radestock, 54 Tissie 6S ). The entire memory of the dream is 
open to an objection calculated to depreciate its value very 
markedly in critical eyes. One may doubt whether our 
memory, which omits so much from the dream, does not falsify 
what it retained. 

Such doubts relating to the exactness of the reproduction 
of the dream are expressed by Strümpell when he says : "It 
therefore easily happens that the active consciousness in- 
voluntarily inserts much in recollection of the dream ; one 
imagines one has dreamt all sorts of things which the actual 
dream did not contain." 

Jessen 36 (p. 547) expresses himself very decidedly : " More- 
over we must not lose sight of the fact, hitherto little heeded, 
that in the investigation and interpretation of orderly and 
logical dreams we almost always play with the truth when we 
recall a dream to memory. Unconsciously and unwittingly 
we fill up the gaps and supplement the dream pictures. Rarely, 
and perhaps never, has a connected dream been as connected 
as it appears to us in memory. Even the most truth-loving 
person can hardly relate a dream without exaggerating and 
embellishing it. The tendency of the human mind to conceive 
everything in connection is so great that it unwittingly supplies 
the deficiencies of connection if the dream is recalled somewhat 
disconnectedly." 

The observations of V. Eggers, 20 though surely inde- 
pendently conceived, sound almost like a translation of Jessen's 
words : " . . . L'observation des reves a ses difficulty speciales 
et le seul moyen d'evitcr toute erreur en pareille mati&re est de 
conner au papier sans le moindre retard ce que Ton vient 
d'eprouver et de remarquer ; sinon, l'oubli vient vite ou total 
ou partiel ; l'oubli total est sans gravitö ; mais l'oubli partiel 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 39 

est perfide ; car si Ton se met ensuite ä raconter ce que Ton 
n'a pas oublie, on est expose ä completer par imagination les 
fragments incoherents et disjoints fourni par la memoire . . . ; 
on devient artiste ä son insu, et le recit, periodiquement repete 
s'impose ä la creance de son auteur, qui, de bonne foi, le 
presente comme mi fait authentique, düment etabli selon les 
bonnes methodes ..." 

Similarly Spitta, 64 who seems to think that it is only in our 
attempt to reproduce the dream that we put in order the 
loosely associated dream elements : "To make connection out 
of disconnection, that is, to add the process of logical con- 
nection which is absent in the dream." 

As we do not at present possess any other objective control 
for the reliability of our memory, and as indeed such a control 
is impossible in examining the dream which is our own ex- 
perience, and for which our memory is the only source, it is a 
question what value we may attach to our recollections of 
dreams. 

(e) The Psychological Peculiarities of Dreams. — In the 
scientific investigation of the dream we start with the assump- 
tion that the dream is an occurrence of our own psychic 
activity ; nevertheless the finished dream appears to us as 
something strange, the authorship of which we are so little 
forced to recognise that we can just as easily say " a dream 
appeared to me," as " I have dreamt," Whence this " psychic 
strangeness " of the dream ? According to our discussion of 
the sources of dreams we may suppose that it does not depend 
on the material reaching the dream content ; because this is 
for the most part common to the dream life and waking life. 
One may ask whether in the dream it is not changes in the 
psychic processes which call forth this impression, and may 
so put to test a psychological characteristic of the dream. 

No one has more strongly emphasized the essential difference 
between dream and waking life, and utilised this difference for 
more far-reaching conclusions, than G. Th. Fechner 25 in some 
observations in his Elements of Psychophysic (p. 520, part 11). 
He believes that " neither the simple depression of conscious 
psychic life under the main threshold," nor the distraction of 
attention from the influences of the outer world, suffices to 
explain the peculiarities of the dream life as compared with 



40 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

the waking life. He rather believes that the scene of dreams 
is laid elsewhere than in the waking presentation life. " If 
the scene of the psychophysical activity were the same during 
the sleeping and the waking states, the dream, in my opinion, 
could only be a continuation of the waking ideation maintain- 
ing itself at a lower degree of intensity, and must moreover 
share with the latter its material and form. But the state of 
affairs is quite different." 

What Fechner really meant has never been made clear, 
nor has anybody else, to my knowledge, followed further the 
road, the clue to which he indicated in this remark. An 
anatomical interpretation in the sense of physiological brain 
localisations, or even in reference to histological sections of 
the cerebral cortex, will surely have to be excluded. The 
thought may, however, prove ingenious and fruitful if it can be 
referred to a psychic apparatus which is constructed out of 
many instances placed one behind another. 

Other authors have been content to render prominent one 
or another of the tangible psychological peculiarities of the 
dream life, and perhaps to take these as a starting point for 
more far-reaching attempts at explanation. 

It has been justly remarked that one of the main pecu- 
liarities of the dream life appears even in the state of falling 
asleep, and is to be designated as the phenomenon inducing 
sleep. According to Schleiermacher 61 (p. 351), the char- 
acteristic part of the waking state is the fact that the psychic 
activity occurs in ideas rather than in pictures. But the 
dream thinks in pictures, and one may observe that with the 
approach of sleep the voluntary activities become difficult 
in the same measure as the involuntary appear, the latter 
belonging wholly to the class of pictures. The inability for 
such presentation work as we perceive to be intentionally 
desired, and the appearance of pictures which is regularly 
connected with this distraction, these are two qualities which 
are constant in the dream, and which in its psychological 
analysis we must recognise as essential characters of the dream 
life. Concerning the pictures — the hypnogogic hallucinations 
— we have discovered that even in their content they are 
identical with the dream pictures. 

The dream therefore thinks preponderately, but not 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 41 

exclusively, in visual pictures. It also makes use of auditory 
pictures, and to a lesser extent of the impressions of the other 
senses. Much is also simply thought or imagined (probably 
represented by remnants of word presentations), just as in 
the waking state. But still what is characteristic for the 
dream is only those elements of the content which act like 
pictures, i.e. which resemble more the perceptions than 
the memory presentations. Disregarding all the discussions 
concerning the nature of hallucinations, familiar to every 
psychiatrist, we can say, with all well-versed authors, that the 
dream hallucinates, that is, replaces thoughts through hallucina- 
tions. In this respect there is no difference between visual 
and acoustic presentations ; it has been noticed that the 
memory of a succession of sounds with which one falls asleep 
becomes transformed while sinking into sleep into an hallucina- 
tion of the same melody, so as to make room again on awaken- 
ing, which may repeatedly alternate with falling into a slumber, 
for the softer memory presentations which are differently 
formed in quality. 

The transformation of an idea into an hallucination is not 
the only deviation of the dream from a waking thought which 
perhaps corresponds to it. From these pictures the dream 
forms a situation, it presents something in the present, it 
dramatises an idea, as Spitta 64 (p. 145) puts it.* But the 
characteristic of this side of the dream life becomes complete 
only when it is remembered that while dreaming we do not 
— as a rule ; the exceptions require a special explanation — 
imagine that we are thinking, but that we are living through 
an experience, i.e., we accept the hallucination with full 
belief. The criticism that this has not been experienced but 
only thought in a peculiar manner — dreamt — comes to us only 
on awakening. This character distinguishes the genuine 
sleeping dream from day dreaming, which is never confused 
with reality. 

The characteristics of the dream life thus far considered 
have been summed up by Burdach 8 (p. 476) in the following 
sentences : "As characteristic features of the dream we may 

* Silberer has shown by nice examples how in the state of sleepiness even 
abstract thoughts may be changed into illustrative plastic pictures which 
express the same thing {Jahrbuch von Bleuler-Freud, vol. i. 1900). 



42 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

add (a) that the subjective activity of our mind appears as 
objective, inasmuch as our faculty of perception perceives the 
products of phantasy as if they were sensory activities . . . 
(b) sleep abrogates one's self-command, hence falling asleep 
necessitates a certain amount of passivity. . . . The slumber 
pictures are conditioned by the relaxation of one's self- 
command." 

It is a question now of attempting to explain the credulity 
of the mind in reference to the dream hallucinations, which 
can only appear after the suspension of a certain arbitrary 
activity. Strümpell 66 asserts that the mind behaves in this 
respect correctly, and in conformity with its mechanism. 
The dream elements are by no means mere presentations, but 
true and real experiences of the mind, similar to those that 
appear in the waking state as a result of the senses (p. 34). 
Whereas in the waking state the mind represents and thinks 
in word pictures and language, in the dream it represents and 
thinks in real tangible pictures (p. 35). Besides, the dream 
manifests a consciousness of space by transferring the sensa- 
tions and pictures, just as in the waking state, into an outer 
space (p. 36). It must therefore be admitted that the mind 
in the dream is in the same relation to its pictures and per- 
ceptions as in the waking state (p. 43). If, however, it is 
thereby led astray, this is due to the fact that it lacks in sleep 
the criticism which alone can distinguish between the sensory 
perceptions emanating from within or from without. It 
cannot subject its pictures to the tests which alone can prove 
their objective reality. It furthermore neglects to differentiate 
between pictures that are arbitrarily interchanged and others 
where there is no free choice. It errs because it cannot apply 
to its content the law of causality (p. 58). In brief, its aliena- 
tion from the outer world contains also the reason for its 
belief in the subjective dream world. 

Delbceuf 16 reaches the same conclusion through a some- 
what different line of argument. We give to the dream 
pictures the credence of reality because in sleep we have no 
other impressions to compare them with, because we are 
cut off from the outer world. But it is not perhaps because 
we are unable to make tests in our sleep, that we believe in the 
truth of our hallucinations. The dream may delude us with 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 43 

all these tests, it may make us believe that we may touch the 
rose that we see in the dream, and still we only dream. Ac- 
cording to Delbceuf there is no valid criterion to show whether 
something is a dream or a conscious reality, except — and that 
only in practical generality — the fact of awakening. " I declare 
delusional everything that is experienced between the period 
of falling asleep and awakening, if I notice on awakening that 
I lie in my bed undressed " (p. 84). "I have considered the 
dream pictures real during sleep in consequence of the mental 
habit, which cannot be put to sleep, of perceiving an outer 
world with which I can contrast my ego." * 

As the deviation from the outer world is taken as the stamp 
for the most striking characteristics of the dream, it will be 
worth while mentioning some ingenious observations of old 
Burdach 8 which will throw light on the relation of the sleeping 
mind to the outer world and at the same time serve to prevent 
us from over-estimating the above deductions. " Sleep results 
only under the condition," says Burdach, " that the mind is 

* Haffher 32 made an attempt similar to Delboeuf 's to explain the dream 
activity on the basis of an alteration which must result in an introduction 
of an abnormal condition in the otherwise correct function of the intact 
psychic apparatus, but he described this condition in somewhat different 
words. He states that the first distinguishing mark of the dream is the 
absence of time and space, i.e. the emancipation of the presentation from the 
position in the order of time and space which is common to the individual. 
Allied to this is the second fundamental character of the dream, the mis- 
taking of the hallucinations, imaginations, and phantasy- combinations for 
objective perceptions. The sum total of the higher psychic forces, especially 
formation of ideas, judgment, and argumentation on the one hand, and the 
free self-determination on the other hand, connect themselves with the 
sensory phantasy pictures and at all times have them as a substratum. 
These activities too, therefore, participate in the irregularity of the dream 
presentation. We say they participate, for our faculties of judgment and 
will power are in themselves in no way altered during sleep. In reference 
to activity, we are just as keen and just as free as in the waking state. A 
man cannot act contrary to the laws of thought, even in the dream, i.e. he 
is unable to harmonise with that which represents itself as contrary to 
him, &c. ; he can only desire in the dream that which he presents to himself 
as good (sub ratione boni). But in this application of the laws of thinking 
and willing the human mind is led astray in the dream through mistaking 
one presentation for another. It thus happens that we form and commit in 
the dream the greatest contradictions, while, on the other hand, we display 
the keenest judgments and the most consequential chains of reasoning, and 
can make the most virtuous and sacred resolutions. Lack of orientation is 
the whole secret of the flight by which our phantasy moves in the dream, 
and lack of critical reflection and mutual understanding with others is the 
main source of the reckless extravagances of our judgments, hopes, and 
wishes in the dream" (p. 18). 



44 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

not excited by sensory stimuli . . . but it is not the lack of 
sensory stimuli that conditions sleep, but rather a lack of 
interest for the same ; some sensory impressions are even 
necessary in so far as they serve to calm the mind ; thus the 
miller can fall asleep only when he hears the rattling of his 
mill, and he who finds it necessary to burn a light at night, as 
a matter of precaution, cannot fall asleep in the dark " (p. 457). 

" The psyche isolates itself during sleep from the outer 
world, and withdraws from the periphery. . . . Nevertheless, 
the connection is not entirely interrupted ; if one did not hear 
and feel even during sleep, but only after awakening, he 
would certainly never awake. The continuance of sensation 
is even more plainly shown by the fact that we are not always 
awakened by the mere sensory force of the impression, but by 
the psychic relation of the same ; an indifferent word does not 
arouse the sleeper, but if called by name he awakens . . . : 
hence the psyche differentiates sensations during sleep. . . . 
It is for this reason that we may be awakened by the lack of a 
sensory stimulus if it relates to the presentation of an important 
thing ; thus one awakens when the light is extinguished, and 
the miller when the mill comes to a standstill ; that is, the 
awakening is due to the cessation of a sensory activity, which 
presupposes that it has been perceived, and that it has not 
disturbed the mind, being indifferent or rather gratifying " 
(p. 460, &c). 

If we are willing to disregard these objections, which are 
not to be taken lightly, we still must admit that the qualities 
of the dream life thus far considered, which originate by 
withdrawing from the outer world, cannot fully explain the 
strangeness of the dream. For otherwise it would be possible 
to change back the hallucinations of the dream into presenta- 
tions and the situations of the dream into thoughts, and thus 
to perform the task of dream interpretation. Now this is 
what we do when we reproduce the dream from memory after 
awakening, and whether we are fully or only partially success- 
ful in this back translation the dream still retains its mysterious- 
ness undiminished. 

Furthermore all the authors assume unhesitatingly that 
still other more far-reaching alterations take place in the 
presentation material of waking life. One of them, Strümpell, 66 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 45 

expresses himself as follows (p. 17) : " With the cessation of 
the objectively active outlook and of the normal consciousness, 
the psyche loses the foundation in which were rooted the 
feelings, desires, interests, and actions. Those psychic states, 
feelings, interests, estimates which cling in the waking state 
to the memory pictures also succumb to ... an obscure 
pressure, in consequence of which their connection with the 
pictures becomes severed ; the perception pictures of things, 
persons, localities, events, and actions of the waking state 
are singly very abundantly reproduced, but none of these 
brings along its psychic value. The latter is removed from 
them, and hence they float about in the mind dependent upon 
their own resources. . . ." 

This deprivation the picture surfers of its psychic value, 
which again goes back to the derivation from the outer world, 
is according to Strümpell mainly responsible for the impression 
of strangeness with which the dream is confronted in our 
memory. 

We have heard that even falling asleep carries with it the 
abandonment of one of the psychic activities — namely, the 
voluntary conduct of the presentation course. Thus the 
supposition, suggested also by other grounds, obtrudes itself, 
that the sleeping state may extend its influence also over the 
psychic functions. One or the other of these functions is 
perhaps entirely suspended ; whether the remaining ones 
continue to work undisturbed, whether they can furnish normal 
work under the circumstances, is the next question. The 
idea occurs to us that the peculiarities of the dream may be 
explained through the inferior psychic activity during the 
sleeping state, but now comes the impression made by the 
dream upon our waking judgment which is contrary to such a 
conception. The dream is disconnected, it unites without 
hesitation the worst contradictions, it allows impossibilities, 
it disregards our authoritative knowledge from the day, and 
evinces ethical and moral dulness. He who would behave in 
the waking state as the dream does in its situations would be 
considered insane. He who in the waking state would speak 
in such manner or report such things as occur in the dream 
content, would impress us as confused and weak-minded. 
Thus we believe that we are only rinding words for the fact 



46- ;THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

when we place but little value on the psychic activity in the 
dream, and especially when we declare that the higher in- 
tellectual activities are suspended or at least much impaired in 
the dream. 

With unusual unanimity — the exceptions will be dealt with 
elsewhere — the authors have pronounced their judgments on the 
dream — such judgments as lead immediately to a definite 
theory or explanation of the dream life. It is time that I 
should supplement the risumd which I have just given with a 
collection of the utterances of different authors — philosophers 
and physicians — on the psychological character of the dream. 

According to Lemoine, 42 the incoherence of the dream 
picture is the only essential character of the dream. 

Maury 48 agrees with him ; he says (p. 163) : "II n'y a pas 
des reves absolument raisonnables et qui ne contiennent quelque 
incoherence, quelque anachronisme, quelque absurdite." 

According to Hegel, quoted by Spitta, 64 the dream lacks all 
objective and comprehensible connection. 

Dugas 19 says : " Le reve, c'est l'anarchie psychique, 
affective et mentale, c'est le jeu des fonctions livrees ä elles- 
memes et s'exercant sans contröle et sans but ; dans le rove 
l'esprit est un automate spirituel." 

" The relaxation, solution, and confusion of the presenta- 
tion life which is held together through the logical force of the 
central ego " is conceded even by Volkelt 72 (p. 14), according to 
whose theory the psychic activity during sleep seems in no 
way aimless. 

The absurdity of the presentation connections appearing in 
the dream can hardly be more strongly condemned than it was 
by Cicero {De Divin. II.) : "Nihil tarn praepostere, tarn in- 
condite, tarn monstruose cogitari potest, quod non possimus 
somniare." 

Fechner 52 says (p. 522) : " It is as if the psychological 
activity were transferred from the brain of a reasonable being 
into the brain of a fool." 

Radestock 3fj (p. 145) says : " It seems indeed impossible 
to recognise in this absurd action any firm law. Having with- 
drawn itself from the strict police of the rational will guiding the 
waking presentation life, and of the attention, the dream 
whirls everything about kaleidoscopically in mad play." 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 47 

Hildebrandt 35 (p. 45) says : " What wonderful jumps the 
dreamer allows himself, e.g., in his chain of reasoning ! With 
what unconcern he sees the most familiar laws of experience 
turned upside down ! What ridiculous contradictions he can 
tolerate in the orders of nature and society before things go 
too far, as we say, and the overstraining of the nonsense 
brings an awakening ! We often multiply quite unconcernedly : 
three times three make twenty ; we are not at all surprised 
when a dog recites poetry for us, when a dead person walks 
to his grave, and when a rock swims on the water ; we go in 
all earnestness by high command to the duchy of Bernburg or 
the principality of Lichtenstein in order to observe the navy 
of the country, or we allow ourselves to be recruited as a 
volunteer by Charles XII. shortly before the battle of Poltawa." 

Binz 4 (p. 33) points to a dream theory resulting from the 
impressions. " Among ten dreams nine at least have an 
absurd content. We unite in them persons or things which do 
not bear the slightest relation to one another. In the next 
moment, as in a kaleidoscope, the grouping changes, if possible 
to one more nonsensical and irrational than before ; thus the 
changing play of the imperfectly sleeping brain continues until 
we awaken, and put our hand to our forehead and ask ourselves 
whether we really still possess the faculty of rational imagina- 
tion and thought." 

Maury 48 (p. 50) finds for the relation of the dream picture 
to the waking thoughts, a comparison most impressive for the 
physician : "La production de ces images que chez l'homme 
eveille fait le plus souvent naltre la volonte, correspond, pour 
Fintelligence, ä ce que cont pour la motilite certains mouvements 
que nous offrent la choree et les affections paralytiques. ..." 
For the rest, he considers the dream " toute une serie de degra- 
dation de la faculte pensant et raisonant " (p. 27). 

It is hardly necessary to mention the utterances of the 
authors which repeat Maury's assertion for the individual 
higher psychic activities. 

According to Strümpell, 66 some logical mental operations 
based on relations and connections disappear in the dream — 
naturally also at points where the nonsense is not obvious 
(p. 26). According to Spitta, 64 (p. 148) the presentations in 
the dream are entirely withdrawn from the laws of causality. 



48 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

Radestock 54 and others emphasize the weakness of judgment 
and decision in the dream. According to Jodl 37 (p. 123), there 
is no critique in the dream, and no correcting of a series of 
perceptions through the content of the sum of consciousness. 
The same author states that " all forms of conscious activity 
occur in the dream, but they are imperfect, inhibited, and 
isolated from one another." The contradictions manifested in 
the dream towards our conscious knowledge are explained 
by Strieker 77 78 (and many others), on the ground that facts 
are forgotten in the dream and logical relations between pre- 
sentations are lost (p. 98), &c, &c. 

The authors who in general speak thus unfavourably about 
the psychic capacities in the dream, nevertheless admit that 
the dream retains a certain remnant of psychic activity. 
Wundt, 76 whose teaching has influenced so many other workers 
in the dream problems, positively admits this. One might 
inquire as to the kind and behaviour of the remnants of the 
psychic life which manifest themselves in the dream. It is 
now quite universally acknowledged that the reproductive 
capacity, the memory in the dream, seems to have been least 
affected ; indeed it may show a certain superiority over the 
same function in the waking life (vid. supra, p. 10), although a 
part of the absurdities of the dream are to be explained by 
just this forgetfulness of the dream life. According to Spitta, 64 
it is the emotional life of the psyche that is not overtaken by 
sleep and that then directs the dream. " By emotion 
[" Gemiith "] we understand the constant comprehension of 
the feelings as the inmost subjective essence of man " (p. 84). 

Scholz 59 (p. 37) sees a psychic activity manifested in the 
dream in the " allegorising interpretation " to which the 
dream material is subjected. Siebeck 62 verifies also in the 
dream the "supplementary interpretative activity" (p. 11) 
which the mind exerts on all that is perceived and viewed. 
The judgment of the apparently highest psychic function, 
the consciousness, presents for the dream a special difficulty. 
As we can know anything only through consciousness, there 
can be no doubt as to its retention ; Spitta, however, believes 
that only consciousness is retained in the dream, and not self- 
consciousness. Delbceuf 16 confesses that he is unable to 
conceive this differentiation. 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 49 

The laws of association which govern the connection of 
ideas hold true also for the dream pictures ; indeed, their 
domination evinces itself in a purer and stronger expression 
in the dream than elsewhere. Strümpell 62 (p. 70) says : " The 
dream follows either the laws of undisguised presentations as 
it seems exclusively or organic stimuli along with such pre- 
sentations, that is, without being influenced by reflection and 
reason, aesthetic sense, and moral judgment." The authors 
whose views I reproduce here conceive the formation of the 
dream in about the following manner : The sum of sensation 
stimuli affecting sleep from the various sources, discussed 
elsewhere, at first awaken in the mind a sum of presentations 
which represent themselves as hallucinations (according to 
Wundt, it is more correct to say as illusions, because of their 
origin from outer and inner stimuli). These unite with one 
another according to the known laws of association, and, 
following the same rules, in turn evoke a new series of pre- 
sentations (pictures). This entire material is then elaborated 
as well as possible by the still active remnant of the organising 
and thinking mental faculties (cf. Wundt 76 and Weygandt 75 ). 
But thus far no one has been successful in finding the motive 
which would decide that the awakening of pictures which do 
not originate objectively follow this or that law of association. 

But it has been repeatedly observed that the associations 
which connect the dream presentations with one another are 
of a particular kind, and different from those found in the 
waking mental activity. Thus Volkelt 72 says : "In the dream, 
the ideas chase and hunt each other on the strength of acci- 
dental similarities and barely perceptible connections. All 
dreams are pervaded by such loose and free associations." 
Maury 48 attaches great value to this characteristic of connec- 
tion between presentations, which allows him to bring the 
dream life in closer analogy to certain mental disturbances. 
He recognises two main characters of the dSlire : " (1) une 
action spontanee et comme automatique de Fesprit ; (2) une 
association vicieuse et irreguliere des idees " (p. 126). Maury 
gives us two excellent examples from his own dreams, in which 
the mere similarity of sound forms the connection of the 
dream presentations. He dreamed once that he undertook 
a pilgrimage (pe'lerinage) to Jerusalem or Mecca. After many 

D 



50 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

adventures he was with the chemist Pelletier ; the latter after 
some talk gave him a zinc shovel (pelle) which became his 
long battle sword in the dream fragment which followed 
(p. 137). On another occasion he walked in a dream on the 
highway and read the kilometres on the milestones ; presently 
he was with a spice merchant who had large scales with which 
to weigh Maury ; the spice merchant then said to him : " You 
are not in Paris ; but on the island Gilolo." This was followed 
by many pictures, in which he saw the flower Lobelia, then 
the General Lopez, of whose demise he had read shortly before. 
He finally awoke while playing a game of lotto. 

We are, however, quite prepared to hear that this de- 
preciation of the psychic activities of the dream has not remained 
without contradiction from the other side. To be sure, con- 
tradiction seems difficult here. Nor is it of much significance 
that one of the depredators of dream life, Spitta 64 (p. 118), 
assures us that the same psychological laws which govern the 
waking state rule the dream also, or that another (Dugas 19 ) 
states : " Le reve n'est pas deraison ni meme irraison pure," 
as long as neither of them has made any effort to bring this 
estimation into harmony with the psychic anarchy and dis- 
solution of all functions in the dream described by them. 
Upon others, however, the possibility seems to have dawned 
that the madness of the dream is perhaps not without its 
method — that it is perhaps only a sham, like that of the Danish 
prince, to whose madness the intelligent judgment here cited 
refers. These authors must have refrained from judging by 
appearances, or the appearance which the dream showed to 
them was quite different. 

Without wishing to linger at its apparent absurdity, 
Havelock Ellis 23 considers the dream as "an archaic world of 
vast emotions and imperfect thoughts," the study of which 
may make us acquainted with primitive stages of development 
of the psychic life. A thinker like Delboeuf 16 asserts — to 
be sure without adducing proof against the contradictory 
material, and hence indeed unjustly : " Dans le sommeil, hormis 
la perception, toutes les facultes de Fesprit, intelligence, imagina- 
tion, memoire, volonte, moralite, restant intactes dans leur 
essence ; seulement, elles s'appliquent a des objets imaginaires 
et mobiles. Le songeur est un acteur qui joue ä volonte les 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 51 

fous et les sages, les bourreaus et les victimes, les nains et les 
geants, les demons et les anges " (p. 222). The Marquis of 
Hervey, who is sharply controverted by Maury, 48 and whose 
work I could not obtain despite all effort, seems to combat 
most energetically the under-estimation of the psychic capacity 
in the dream. Maury speaks of him as follows (p. 19) : " M. le 
Marquis d'Hervey prete ä l'intelligence, durant le sommeil 
toute sa liberte d'action et d'attention et il ne semble faire 
consister le sommeil que dans l'occlusion des sens, dans leur 
fermeture au monde exterieur ; en sorte que l'homme qui dort 
ne se distingue guere, selon sa maniere de voir, de l'homme qui 
laisse vaguer sa pensee en se bouchant les sens ; toute la 
difference qui separe alors la pensee ordinaire du celle du 
dormeur c'est que, chez celui-ci, l'idee prend une forme visible, 
objective et ressemble, a s'y meprendre, ä la sensation deter- 
minee par les objets exterieurs ; le souvenir revet l'apparence 
du fait present." 

Maury adds, however ; " Qu'il y a une difference de plus 
et capitale ä savoir que les facultes intellectuelles de l'homme 
endormi n'offrent pas l'equilibre qu'elles gardent chez l'homme 
reveille." 

The scale of the estimation of the dream as a psychic 
product has a great range in the literature ; it reaches from 
the lowest under-estimation, the expression of which we have 
come to know, through the idea of a value not yet revealed to 
the over-estimation which places the dream far above the 
capacities of the waking life. Hildebrandt, 35 who, as we know, 
sketches the psychological characteristics into three anti- 
nomies, sums up in the third of these contradistinctions the 
extreme points of this series as follows (p. 19) : " It is between 
a climax, often an involution which raises itself to virtuosity, 
and on the other hand a decided diminution and weakening of 
the psychic life often leading below the human niveau." 

" As for the first, who could not confirm from his own 
experience that, in the creations and weavings of the genius 
of the dream, there sometimes comes to fight a profundity 
and sincerity of emotion, a tenderness of feeling, a clearness of 
view, a fineness of observation, and a readiness of wit, all 
which we should modestly have to deny that we possess as a 
constant property during the waking life ? The dream has a 



52 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

wonderful poetry, an excellent allegory, an incomparable 
humour, and a charming irony. It views the world under the 
guise of a peculiar idealisation, and often raises the effect of its 
manifestations into the most ingenious understanding of the 
essence lying at its basis. It represents for us earthly beauty 
in true heavenly radiance, the sublime in the highest majesty, 
the actually frightful in the most gruesome figure, and the 
ridiculous in the indescribably drastic comical ; and at times 
we are so full of one of these impressions after awakening that 
we imagine that such a thing has never been offered to us by 
the real world." 

One may ask, is it really the same object that the de- 
preciating remarks and these inspired praises are meant for ? 
Have the latter overlooked the stupid dreams and the former 
the thoughtful and ingenious dreams ? And if both kinds do 
occur — that is, dreams that merit to be judged in this or that 
manner — does it not seem idle to seek the psychological character 
of the dream ? would it not suffice to state that everything is 
possible in the dream, from the lowest depreciation of the 
psychic life to a raising of the same which is unusual in the 
waking state ? As convenient as this solution would be it has 
this against it, that behind the efforts of all dream investigators, 
it seems to be presupposed that there is such a definable 
character of the dream, which is universally valid in its essen- 
tial features and which must eliminate these contradictions. 

It is unquestionable that the psychic capacities of the 
dream have found quicker and warmer recognition in that 
intellectual period which now lies behind us, when philosophy 
rather than exact natural science ruled intelligent minds. 
Utterances like those of Schubert, that the dream frees the 
mind from the power of outer nature, that it liberates the soul 
from the chains of the sensual, and similar opinions expressed 
by the younger Fichte,* and others, who represent the dream 
as a soaring up of the psychic life to a higher stage, hardly 
seem conceivable to us to-day ; they are only repeated at 
present by mystics and devotees. With the advance of the 
scientific mode of thinking, a reaction took place in the estima- 
tion of the dream. It is really the medical authors who are 
most prone to underrate the psychic activity in the dream, 
* Cf. Ilaffner 32 and Spitta 64 . 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 53 

as being insignificant and invaluable, whereas, philosophers 
and unprofessional observers — amateur psychologists — whose 
contributions in this realm can surely not be overlooked, in 
better agreement with the popular ideas, have mostly adhered 
to the psychic value of the dream. He who is inclined to under- 
rate the psychic capacity in the dream prefers, as a matter 
of course, the somatic exciting sources in the etiology of the 
dream ; he who leaves to the dreaming mind the greater part 
of its capacities, naturally has no reason for not also admitting 
independent stimuli for dreaming. 

Among the superior activities which, even on sober com- 
parison, one is tempted to ascribe to the dream life, memory 
is the most striking ; we have fully discussed the frequent 
experiences which prove this fact. Another superiority of 
the dream life, frequently extolled by the old authors, viz. 
that it can regard itself supreme in reference to distance of 
time and space, can be readily recognised as an illusion. 
This superiority, as observed by Hildebrandt, 35 is only illusional ; 
the dream takes as much heed of time and space as the waking 
thought, and this because it is only a form of thinking. The 
dream is supposed to enjoy still another advantage in reference 
to time ; that is, it is independent in still another sense of the 
passage of time. Dreams like the guillotine dream of Maury, 48 
reported above, seem to show that the dream can crowd 
together more perception content in a very short space of time 
than can be controlled by our psychic activity in the waking 
mind. These conclusions have been controverted, however, 
by many arguments ; the essays of Le Lorrain 45 and Egger 20 
" Concerning the apparent duration of dreams " gave rise to a 
long and interesting discussion which has probably not said 
the last word upon this delicate and far-reaching question. 

That the dream has the ability to take up the intellectual 
work of the day and bring to a conclusion what has not been 
settled during the day, that it can solve doubt and problems, 
and that it may become the source of new inspiration in poets 
and composers, seems to be indisputable, as is shown by many 
reports and by the collection compiled by Chabaneix. 11 But 
even if there be no dispute as to the facts, nevertheless their 
interpretation is open in principle to a great many doubts. 

Finally the asserted divinatory power of the dream forms 



54 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

an object of contention in which hard ^insurmountable reflec- 
tion encounters obstinate and continued faith. It is indeed just 
that we should refrain from denying all that is based on fact 
in this subject, as there is a possibility that a number of such 
cases may perhaps be explained on a natural psychological 
basis. 

(/) The Ethical Feelings in the Dream. — For reasons which 
will be understood only after cognisance has been taken of my 
own investigations of the dream, I have separated from the 
psychology of the dream the partial problem whether and to 
what extent the moral dispositions and feelings of the waking 
life extend into the dreams. The same contradictions which 
we were surprised to observe in the authors' descriptions of all 
the other psychic capacities strike us again here. Some 
affirm decidedly that the dream knows nothing of moral 
obligations ; others as decidedly that the moral nature of man 
remains even in his dream life. 

A reference to our dream experience of every night seems 
to raise the correctness of the first assertion beyond doubt. 
Jessen 36 says (p. 553) : " Nor does one become better or more 
virtuous in the dream ; on the contrary, it seems that con- 
science is silent in the dream, inasmuch as one feels no com- 
passion and can commit the worst crimes, such as theft, 
murder, and assassination, with perfect indifference and 
without subsequent remorse." 

Radestock 54 (p. 146) says : " It is to be noticed that in the 
dream the associations terminate and the ideas unite without 
being influenced by reflection and reason, aesthetic taste, and 
moral judgment ; the judgment is extremely weak, and ethical 
indifference reigns supreme." 

Volkelt 72 (p. 23) expresses himself as follows : " As every 
one knows, the sexual relationship in the dream is especially 
unbridled. Just as the dreamer himself is shameless in the 
extreme, and wholly lacking moral feeling and judgment, so 
also he sees others, even the most honoured persons, engaged 
in actions which even in thought he would blush to associate 
with them in his waking state." 

Utterances like those of Schopenhauer, that in the dream 
every person acts and talks in accordance with his character, 
form the sharpest contrast to those mentioned above. R, P. 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 55 

Fischer * maintains that the subjective feelings and desires 
or affects and passions manifest themselves in the wilfulness 
of the dream life, and that the moral characteristics of a person 
are mirrored in his dream. 

Haffner 32 (p. 25) : " With rare exceptions ... a virtuous 
person will be virtuous also in his dreams ; he will resist 
temptation, and show no sympathy for hatred, envy, anger, 
and all other vices ; while the sinful person will, as a rule, also 
find in his dreams the pictures which he has before him while 
awake." 

Scholz 59 (p. 36) : " In the dream there is truth ; despite all 
masking in pride or humility, we still recognise our own self. 
. . . The honest man does not commit any dishonourable 
offence even in the dream, or, if this does occur, he is terrified 
over it as if over something foreign to his nature. The Roman 
emperor who ordered one of his subjects to be executed because 
he dreamed that he cut off the emperor's head, was not wrong 
in justifying his action on the ground that he who has such 
dreams must have similar thoughts while awake. About a 
thing that can have no place in our mind we therefore say 
significantly : ' I would never dream of such a thing.' ' 

Pfaff,f varying a familiar proverb, says : " Tell me for a 
time your dreams, and I will tell you what you are within." 

The short work of Hildebrandt, 35 from which I have already 
taken so many quotations, a contribution to the dream problem 
as complete and as rich in thought as I found in the literature, 
places the problem of morality in the dream as the central 
point of its interest. For Hildebrandt, too, it is a strict rule 
that the purer the life, the purer the dream ; the impurer the 
former, the impurer the latter. 

The moral nature of man remains even in the dream : 
" But while we are not offended nor made suspicious by an 
arithmetical error no matter how obvious, by a reversal of 
science no matter how romantic, or by an anachronism no 
matter how witty, we nevertheless do not lose sight of the 
difference between good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and 
vice. No matter how much of what follows us during the 

* Grundzüge des Systems der Anthropologie. Erlangen, 1850 (quoted by 
Spitta). 

t Das Traumleben und seine Deutung, 1868 (cited by Spitta, p. 192). 



56 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

day may vanish in our hours of sleep — Kant's categorical 
imperative sticks to our heels as an inseparable companion 
from whom we cannot rid ourselves even in slumber. . . . 
This can be explained, however, only by the fact that the 
fundamental in human nature, the moral essence, is too firmly 
fixed to take part in the activity of the kaleidoscopic shaking up 
to which phantasy, reason, memory, and other faculties of the 
same rank succumb in the dream " (p. 45, &c). 

In the further discussion of the subject we find remarkable 
distortion and inconsequence in both groups of authors. 
Strictly speaking, interest in immoral dreams would cease for 
all those who assert that the moral personality of the person 
crumbles away in the dream. They could just as calmly 
reject the attempt to hold the dreamer responsible for his 
dreams, and to draw inferences from the badness of his dreams 
as to an evil strain in his nature, as they rejected the ap- 
parently similar attempt to demonstrate the insignificance of 
his intellectual life in the waking state from the absurdity of 
his dreams. The others for whom " the categorical im- 
perative " extends also into the dream, would have to accept 
full responsibility for the immoral dreams ; it would only be 
desirable for their own sake that their own objectionable 
dreams should not lead them to abandon the otherwise firmly 
held estimation of their own morality. 

Still it seems that no one knows exactly about himself 
how good or how bad he is, and that no one can deny the 
recollection of his own immoral dreams. For besides the 
opposition already mentioned in the criticism of the morality 
of the dream, both groups of authors display an effort to 
explain the origin of the immoral dream and a new opposition 
is developed, depending on whether their origin is sought in 
the functions of the psychic life or in the somatically deter- 
mined injuries to this life. The urgent force of the facts then 
permits the representatives of the responsibility, as well as 
of the irresponsibility of the dream life, to agree in the re- 
cognition of a special psychic source for the immorality of 
dreams. 

All those who allow the continuance of the morality in 
the dream nevertheless guard against accepting full responsi- 
bility for their dreams. Haflner 32 says (p. 24) : " We are not 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 57 

responsible for dreams because the basis upon which alone our 
life has truth and reality is removed from our thoughts. . . . 
Hence there can be no dream wishing and dream acting, no 
virtue or sin." Still the person is responsible for the sinful 
dream in so far as he brings it about indirectly. Just as in 
the waking state, it is his duty to cleanse his moral mind, 
particularly so before retiring to sleep. 

The analysis of this mixture of rejection and recognition 
of responsibility for the moral content of the dream is followed 
much further by Hildebrandt. After specifying that the 
dramatic manner of representation in the dream, the crowding 
together of the most complicated processes of deliberation in 
the briefest period of time, and the depreciation and the 
confusion of the presentation elements in the dream admitted 
by him must be recognised as unfavourable to the immoral 
aspect of dreams ; he nevertheless confesses that, yielding to 
the most earnest reflection, he is inclined simply to deny all 
responsibility for faults and dream sins. 

(P. 49) : " If we wish to reject very decisively any unjust 
accusation, especially one that has reference to our intentions 
and convictions, we naturally make use of the expression : I 
should never have dreamed of such a thing. By this we mean 
to say, of course, that we consider the realm of the dream the 
last and remotest place in which we are to be held responsible 
for our thoughts, because there these thoughts are only loosely 
and incoherently connected with our real being, so that we 
should hardly still consider them as our own ; but as we feel 
impelled expressly to deny the existence of such thoughts, 
even in this realm, we thus at the same time indirectly admit 
that our justification will not be complete if it does not reach 
to that point. And I believe that, though unconsciously, we 
here speak the language of truth." 

(P. 52) : " No dream thought can be imagined whose first 
motive has not already moved through the mind while awake 
as some wish, desire, or impulse." Concerning this original 
impulse we must say that the dream has not discovered it — ■ 
it has only imitated and extended it, it has only elaborated 
a bit of historical material which it has found in us, into 
dramatic form ; it enacts the words of the apostle : He who 
hates his brother is a murderer. And whereas, after we 



58 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

awaken and become conscious of our moral strength, we may 
smile at the boldly executed structure of the depraved dream, 
the original formative material, nevertheless, has no ridicu- 
lous side. One feels responsible for the transgressions of the 
dreamer, not for the whole sum, but still for a certain percentage. 
" In this sense, which is difficult to impugn, we understand the 
words of Christ : Out of the heart come evil thoughts — for 
we can hardly help being convinced that every sin committed 
in the dream brings with it at least a vague minimum of 
guilt." 

Hildebrandt thus finds the source of the immorality of 
dreams in the germs and indications of evil impulses which 
pass through our minds during the day as tempting thoughts, 
and he sees fit to add these immoral elements to the moral 
estimation of the personality. It is the same thoughts and 
the same estimation of these thoughts, which, as we know, 
have caused devout and holy men of all times to lament that 
they are evil sinners. 

There is certainly no reason to doubt the general occurrence 
of these contrasting presentations — in most men and even also 
in other than ethical spheres. The judgment of these at 
times has not been very earnest. In Spitta 64 we find the follow- 
ing relevant expression from A. Zeller (Article " Irre " in the 
Allgemeinen Encyklopädie der Wissenchaften of Ersch and 
Grüber, p. 144) : " The mind is rarely so happily organised 
as to possess at all times power enough not to be disturbed, 
not only by unessential but also by perfectly ridiculous ideas 
running counter to the usual clear trend of thought ; indeed, 
the greatest thinkers have had cause to complain of this dream- 
like disturbing and painful rabble of ideas, as it destroys their 
profoundest reflection and their most sacred and earnest 
mental work." 

A clearer fight is thrown on the psychological status of 
this idea of contrast by another observation of Hildebrandt, 
that the dream at times allows us to glance into the deep and 
inmost recesses of our being, which are generally closed to us in 
our waking state (p. 55). The same knowledge is revealed 
by Kant in his Anthropology, when he states that the dream 
exists in order to lay bare for us our hidden dispositions and to 
reveal to us not what we are, but what we might have been if 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 59 

we had a different education. Radestock 54 (p. 84) says that 
the dream often only reveals to us what we do not wish to 
admit to ourselves, and that we therefore unjustly condemn 
it as a liar and deceiver. That the appearance of impulses 
which are foreign to our consciousness is merely analogous 
to the already familiar disposition which the dream makes of 
other material of the presentation, which is either absent or 
plays only an insignificant part in the waking state, has been 
called to our attention by observations like those of Benini, 3 
who says : " Gerte nostre inclinazione che si credevano suffocate 
a spente da un pezzo, si ridestano ; passioni vecchie e sepolte 
rivivono ; cose e persone a cui non pensiamo mai, ci vengono 
dinanzi " (p. 149). Volkelt 72 expresses himself in a similar 
way : " Even presentations which have entered into our 
consciousness almost unnoticed, and have never perhaps been 
brought out from oblivion, often announce through the 
dream their presence in the mind (p. 105). Finally, it is not 
out of place to mention here that, according to Schleiermacher, 61 
the state of falling asleep is accompanied by the appearance 
of undesirable presentations (pictures). 

We may comprise under " undesirable presentations " this 
entire material of presentations, the occurrence of which 
excites our wonder in immoral as well as in absurd dreams. 
The only important difference consists in the fact that our 
undesirable presentations in the moral sphere exhibit an 
opposition to our other feelings, whereas the others simply 
appear strange to us. Nothing has been done so far to enable 
us to remove this difference through a more penetrating 
knowledge. 

But what is the significance of the appearance of un- 
desirable presentations in the dream ? What inferences may 
be drawn for the psychology of the waking and dreaming 
mind from these nocturnal manifestations of contrasting 
ethical impulses % We may here note a new diversity of 
opinion, and once more a different grouping of the authors. 
The stream of thought followed by Hildebrandt, and by 
others who represent his fundamental view, cannot be con- 
tinued in any other way than by ascribing to the immoral 
impulses a certain force even in the waking state, which, to 
be sure, is inhibited from advancing to action, and asserting 



60 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

that something falls off during sleep, which, having the effect 
of an inhibition, has kept us from noticing the existence of 
such an impulse. The dream thus shows the real, if not the 
entire nature of man, and is a means of making the hidden 
psychic life accessible to our understanding. It is only on 
such assumption that Hildebrandt can attribute to the dream the 
role of monitor who calls our attention to the moral ravages in 
the soul, just as in the opinion of physicians it can announce a 
hitherto unobserved physical ailment. Spitta, 64 too, cannot be 
guided by any other conception when he refers to the stream of 
excitement which, e.g., flows in upon the psyche during puberty, 
and consoles the dreamer by saying that he has done every- 
thing in his power when he has led a strictly virtuous life 
during his waking state, when he has made an effort to suppress 
the sinful thoughts as often as they arise, and has kept them 
from maturing and becoming actions. According to this con- 
ception, we might designate the " undesirable " presentations 
as those that are " suppressed " during the day, and must 
recognise in their appearance a real psychic phenomenon. 

If we followed other authors we would have no right to the 
last inference. For Jessen 36 the undesirable presentations in 
the dream as in the waking state, in fever and other deliria, 
merely have " the character of a voluntary activity put to 
rest and a somewhat mechanical process of pictures and 
presentations produced by inner impulses " (p. 360). An 
immoral dream proves nothing for the psychic life of the dreamer 
except that he has in some way become cognizant of the ideas 
in question ; it is surely not a psychic impulse of his own. 
Another author, Maury, 48 makes us question whether he, too, 
does not attribute to the dream state the capacity for dividing 
the psychic activity into its components instead of destroying 
it aimlessly. He speaks as follows about dreams in which one 
goes beyond the bounds of morality : " Ce sont nos penchants 
qui parlent et qui nous font agir, sans que la conscience nous 
retienne, bien que parfoit eile nous avertisse. J'ai mes defauts 
et mes penchants vicieux ; a l'etat de veille, je tache de lutter 
contre eux, et il m'arrive assez souvent de n'y pas succomber. 
Mais dans mes songes j'y succombe tou jours ou pour mieux 
dire j'agis, par leur impulsion, sans crainte et sans remords. . . . 
Evidement les visions qui se deroulent devant ma pcnsee et 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 61 

qui constituent le reve, me sont suggerees par les incitations 
que je ressens et que ma volonte absente ne cherche pas ä 
ref order" (p. 113). 

If one believes in the capacity of the dream to reveal 
an actually existing but repressed or concealed immoral dis- 
position of the dreamer, he could not emphasize his opinion 
more strongly than with the words of Maury (p. 115) : " En 
reve l'homme se revele done tout entier ä soi-meme dans sa 
nudite et sa misere natives. Des qu'il suspend l'exercice de sa 
volonte, il devient le jouet de toutes les passions contre les- 
quelles, ä l'etat de veille, la conscience, le sentiment d'honneur, 
la crainte nous dependent." In another place he finds the 
following striking words (p. 462) : " Dans le reve, e'est surtout 
l'homme instinctif que se revele. . . . L'homme revient pour 
ainsi dire a l'etat de nature quand il reve ; mais moins les idees 
acquises ont penetre dans son esprit, plus les penchants en 
disaccord avec elles conservent encore sur lui d'innuence 
dans le reve." He then mentions as an example that his 
dreams often show him as a victim of just those superstitions 
which he most violently combats in his writing. 

The value of all these ingenious observations for a psycho- 
logical knowledge of the dream life, however, is marred by 
Maury through the fact that he refuses to recognise in the 
phenomena so correctly observed by him any proof of the 
" automatisme psychologique " which in his opinion dominates 
the dream life. He conceives this automatism as a perfect 
contrast to the psychic activity. 

A passage in the studies on consciousness by Strieker 77 
reads : " The dream does not consist of delusions merely ; if, 
e.g., one is afraid of robbers in the dream, the robbers are, of 
course, imaginary, but the fear is real. One's attention is 
thus called to the fact that the effective development in the 
dream does not admit of the judgment which one bestows upon 
the rest of the dream content, and the problem arises what 
part of the psychic processes in the dream may be real, i.e. 
what part of them may demand to be enrolled among the 
psychic processes of the waking state ? " 

(g) Dream Theories and Functions of the Dream. — A statement 
concerning the dream which as far as possible attempts to 
explain from one point of view many of its noted characters, and 



62 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

which at the same time determines the relation of the dream to 
a more comprehensive sphere of manifestations, may be called 
a theory of dreams. Individual theories of the dream will be 
distinguished from one another through the fact that they 
raise to prominence this or that characteristic of the dream, 
and connect explanations and relations with it. It will not 
be absolutely necessary to derive from the theory a function, 
i.e. a use or any such activity of the dream, but our expecta- 
tion, which is usually adjusted to teleology, will nevertheless 
welcome those theories which promise an understanding of 
the function of the dream. 

We have already become acquainted with many concep- 
tions of the dream which, more or less, merit the name of dream 
theories in this sense. The belief of the ancients that the 
dream was sent by the gods in order to guide the actions of 
man was a complete theory of the dream giving information 
concerning everything in the dream worth knowing. Since 
the dream has become an object of biological investigation we 
have a greater number of theories, of which, however, some 
are very incomplete. 

If we waive completeness, we may attempt the following 
loose grouping of dream theories based on their fundamental 
conception of the degree and mode of the psychic activity in 
the dream : — 

1. Theories, like those of Delboeuf, 16 which allow the full 
psychic activity of the waking state to continue into the 
dream. Here the mind does not sleep ; its apparatus remains 
intact, and, being placed under the conditions different from 
the waking state, it must in normal activity furnish results 
different from those of the waking state. In these theories 
it is a question whether they are in position to derive the 
distinctions between dreaming and waking thought altogether 
from the determinations of the sleeping state. They moreover 
lack a possible access to a function of the dream ; one cannot 
understand why one dreams, why the complicated mechanism 
of the psychic apparatus continues to play even when it is 
placed under conditions for which it is not apparently adapted. 
There remain only two expedient reactions — to sleep dream- 
lessly or to awake when approached by disturbing stimuli — 
instead of the third, that of dreaming. 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM GS 

2. Theories which, on the contrary, assume for the dream 
a diminution for the psychic activity, a loosening of the con- 
nections, and an impoverishment in available material. In 
accordance with these theories, one must assume for sleep a 
psychological character entirely different from the one given 
by Delbceuf. Sleep extends far beyond the mind — it does 
not consist merely in a shutting off of the mind from the outer 
world ; on the contrary, it penetrates into its mechanism, causing 
it at times to become useless. If I may draw a comparison 
from psychiatrical material, I may say that the first theories 
construct the dream like a paranoia, while the second make 
it after the model of a dementia or an amentia. 

The theory that only a fragment of the psychic activity 
paralysed by sleep comes to expression is by far the favourite 
among the medical writers and in the scientific world. As 
far as one may presuppose a more general interest in dream 
interpretation, it may well be designated as the ruling theory 
of the dream. It is to be emphasized with what facility this 
particular theory escapes the worst rock threatening every 
dream interpretation, that is to say, being shipwrecked upon 
one of the contrasts embodied in the dream. As this theory 
considers the dream the result of a partial waking (or as 
Herbart's Psychology of the dream says, " a gradual, partial, 
and at the same time very anomalous waking "), it succeeds in 
covering the entire series of inferior activities in the dream 
which reveal themselves in its absurdities, up to the full con- 
centration of mental activity, by following a series of states 
which become more and more awake until they reach full 
awakening. 

One who finds the psychological mode of expression indis- 
pensable, or who thinks more scientifically, will find this theory 
of the dream expressed in the discussion of Binz 4 (p. 43) : — 

" This state [of numbness], however, gradually approaches 
its end in the early morning hours. The accumulated material 
of fatigue in the albumen of the brain gradually becomes 
less. It is gradually decomposed or carried away by the 
constantly flowing circulation. Here and there some masses 
of cells can be distinguished as awake, while all around 
everything still remains in a state of torpidity. The isolated 
work of the individual groups now appears before our clouded 



64 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

consciousness, which lacks the control of other parts of the 
brain governing the associations. Hence the pictures created, 
which mostly correspond to the objective impressions of the 
recent past, fit with each other in a wild and irregular manner. 
The number of the brain cells set free becomes constantly- 
greater, the irrationality of the dream constantly less." 

The conception of the dream as an incomplete, partial 
waking state, or traces of its influence, can surely be found 
among all modern physiologists and philosophers. It is most 
completely represented by Maury. 48 It often seems as if this 
author represented to himself the state of being awake or 
asleep in anatomical regions ; at any rate it appears to him 
that an anatomical province is connected with a definite 
psychic function. I may here merely mention that if the 
theory of partial waking could be confirmed, there would 
remain much to be accomplished in its elaboration. 

Naturally a function of the dream cannot be found in this 
conception of the dream life. On the contrary, the criticism 
of the status and importance of the dream is consistently 
uttered in this statement of Binz (p. 357) : " All the facts, as 
we see, urge us to characterise the dream as a physical process 
in all cases useless, in many cases even morbid." 

The expression " physical " in reference to the dream, 
which owes its prominence to this author, points in more than 
one direction. In the first place, it refers to the etiology of 
the dream, which was especially clear to Binz, as he studied 
the experimental production of dreams by the administration 
of poisons. It is certainly in keeping with this kind of dream 
theory to ascribe the incitement of the dream exclusively to 
somatic origin whenever possible. Presented in the most 
extreme form, it reads as follows : After we have put ourselves 
to sleep by removing the stimuli, there would be no need and 
no occasion for dreaming until morning, when the gradual 
awakening through the incoming stimuli would be reflected in 
the phenomenon of dreaming. But as a matter of fact, it is 
not possible to keep sleep free from stimuli ; just as Mephisto 
complains about the germs of life, so stimuli reach the sleeper 
from every side — from without, from within, and even from 
certain bodily regions which never give us any concern during 
the waking state. Thus sleep is disturbed ; the mind is 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 65 

aroused, now by this, now by that little thing, and functionates 
for a while with the awakened part only to be glad to fall 
asleep again. The dream is a reaction to the stimulus causing 
a disturbance of sleep — to be sure, it is a purely superfluous 
reaction. 

To designate the dream as a physical process, which for 
all that remains an activity of the mental organ, has still 
another sense. It is meant to dispute the dignity of a psychic 
process for the dream. The application to the dream of the 
very old comparison of the " ten fingers of a musically ignorant 
person running over the keyboard of an instrument," perhaps 
best illustrates in what estimation the dream activity has been 
held by the representatives of exact science. In this sense it 
becomes something entirely untranslatable, for how could the 
ten fingers of an unmusical player produce any music 1 

The theory of partial wakefulness has not passed without 
objection even in early times. Thus Burdach, 8 in 1830, says : 
" If we say that the dream is a partial wakefulness, in the 
first place, we explain thereby neither the waking nor the 
sleeping state ; secondly, this expresses nothing more than 
that certain forces of the mind are active in the dream while 
others are at rest. But such irregularities take place throughout 
life . . ." (p. 483). 

Among extant dream theories which consider the dream a 
" physical " process, there is one very interesting conception 
of the dream, first propounded by Robert 55 in 1866, which is 
attractive because it assigns to the dream a function or a useful 
end. As a basis for this theory, Robert takes from observa- 
tion two facts which we have already discussed in our con- 
sideration of the dream material (see p. 13). These facts are : 
that one very often dreams about the insignificant impressions 
of the day, and that one rarely carries over into the dream the 
absorbing interests of the day. Robert asserts as exclusively 
correct, that things which have been fully settled never become 
dream inciters, but only such things as are incomplete in the 
mind or touch it fleetingly (p. 11). "We cannot usually 
explain our dreams because their causes are to be found in 
sensory impressions of the preceding day which have not attained 
sufficient recognition by the dreamer" The conditions allowing 
an impression to reach the dream are therefore, either that 

E 



66 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

this impression has been disturbed in its elaboration, or that 
being too insignificant it has no claim to such elaboration. 

Robert therefore conceives the dream "as a physical 
process of elimination which has reached to cognition in the 
psychic manifestation of its reaction." Dreams are elimina- 
tions of thoughts nipped in the bud. " A man deprived of the 
capacity for dreaming would surely in time become mentally 
unbalanced, because an immense number of unfinished and 
unsolved thoughts and superficial impressions would accumu- 
late in his brain, under the pressure of which there would be 
crushed all that should be incorporated as a finished whole 
into memory." The dream acts as a safety-valve for the over- 
burdened brain. Dreams possess healing and unburdening 
properties (p. 32). 

It would be a mistake to ask Robert how representation in 
the dream can bring about an unburdening of the mind. The 
author apparently concluded from those two peculiarities of 
the dream material that during sleep such ejection of worthless 
impressions is effected as a somatic process, and that dreaming 
is not a special psychic process but only the knowledge that 
we receive of such elimination. To be sure an elimination is 
not the only thing that takes place in the mind during sleep. 
Robert himself adds that the incitements of the day are also 
elaborated, and " what cannot be eliminated from the un- 
digested thought material lying in the mind becomes con- 
nected by threads of thought borrowed from the phantasy into a 
finished whole, and thus enrolled in the memory as a harmless 
phantasy picture " (p. 23). 

But it is in his criticism of the dream sources that Robert 
appears most bluntly opposed to the ruling theory. Whereas 
according to the existing theory there would be no dream if 
the outer and inner sensory stimuli did not repeatedly wake 
the mind, according to Robert the impulse to dream lies in 
the mind itself. It lies in the overcharging which demands 
discharge, and Robert judges with perfect consistency when 
he maintains that the causes determining the dream which 
depend on the physical state assume a subordinate rank, and 
could not incite dreams in a mind containing no material for 
dream formation taken from waking consciousness. It is 
admitted, however, that the phantasy pictures originating in 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 67 

the depths of the mind can be influenced by the nervous 
stimuli (p. 48). Thus, according to Robert, the dream is not 
quite so dependent on the somatic element. To be sure, it is 
not a psychic process, and has no place among the psychic 
processes of the waking state ; it is a nocturnal somatic 
process in the apparatus devoted to mental activity, and has 
a function to perform, viz. to guard this apparatus against 
overstraining, or, if the comparison may be changed, to cleanse 
the mind. 

Another author, Yves Delage, 15 bases his theory on the 
same characteristics of the dream, which become clear in the 
selection of the dream material, and it is instructive to observe 
how a slight turn in the conception of the same things gives 
a final result of quite different bearing. 

Delage, after having lost through death a person very dear 
to him, found from his own experience that we do not dream 
of what occupies us intently during the day, or that we begin 
to dream of it only after it is overshadowed by other interests 
of the day. His investigations among other persons corro- 
borated the universality of this state of affairs. Delage 
makes a nice observation of this kind, if it turn out to be 
generally true, about the dreaming of newly married people : 
" S'ils ont ete fortement epris, presque jamais ils n'ont reve 
Fun de l'autre avant le mariage ou pendant la lune de miel ; 
et s'ils ont reve d'amour c'est pour etre infideles avec quelque 
personne indifferente ou odieuse." But what does one dream 
of ? Delage recognises that the material occurring in our 
dreams consists of fragments and remnants of impressions 
from the days preceding and former times. All that appears 
in our dreams, what at first we may be inclined to consider 
creations of the dream life, proves on more thorough investiga- 
tion to be unrecognised reproductions, " souvenir inconscient." 
But this presentation material shows a common character ; it 
originates from impressions which have probably affected 
our senses more forcibly than our mind, or from which the 
attention has been deflected soon after their appearance. The 
less conscious, and at the same time the stronger the impression, 
the more prospect it has of playing a part in the next dream. 

These are essentially the same two categories of impressions, 
the insignificant and the unadjusted, which were emphasized 



68 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

by Robert, 55 but Delage changes the connection by assuming 
that these impressions become the subject of dreams, not 
because they are indifferent, but because they are unadjusted. 
The insignificant impressions, too, are in a way not fully ad- 
justed ; they, too, are from their nature as new impressions 
" autant de ressorts tendus," which will be relaxed during 
sleep. Still more entitled to a role in the dream than the weak 
and almost unnoticed impression is a strong impression which 
has been accidentally detained in its elaboration or intentionally 
repressed. The psychic energy accumulated during the day 
through inhibition or suppression becomes the main-spring 
of the dream at night. 

Unfortunately Delage stops here in his train of thought ; 
he can ascribe only the smallest part to an independent psychic 
activity in the dream, and thus in his dream theory reverts to 
the ruling doctrine of a partial sleep of the brain : " En somme 
le reve est le produit de la pensee errante, sans but et sans 
direction, se fixant successivement sur les souvenirs, qui ont 
garde assez d'intensite pour se placer sur sa route et Farreter 
au passage, etablissant entre eux un Hen tantot faible et 
indecis, tantot plus fort et plus serre, selon que l'activite 
actuelle du cerveau est plus ou moins abolie par le sommeil." 

In a third group we may include those dream theories 
which ascribe to the dreaming mind the capacity and pro- 
pensity for a special psychic activity, which in the waking 
state it can accomplish either not at all or only in an imperfect 
manner. From the activity of these capacities there usually 
results a useful function of the dream. The dignity bestowed 
upon the dream by older psychological authors falls chiefly 
in this category. I shall content myself, however, with quoting, 
in their place, the assertions of Burdach, 8 by virtue of which 
the dream " is the natural activity of the mind, which is not 
limited by the force of the individuality, not disturbed by self- 
consciousness and not directed by self-determination, but is 
the state of life of the sensible central point indulging in free 
play " (p. 480). 

Burdach and others apparently consider this revelling in 
the free use of one's own powers as a state in which the mind 
refreshes itself and takes on new strength for the day work, 
something after the manner of a vacation holiday, Burdach, 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 69 

therefore, cites with approval the admirable words in which 
the poet Novalis lauds the sway of the dream : " The dream 
is a bulwark against the regularity and commonness of life, 
a free recreation of the fettered phantasy, in which it mixes 
together all the pictures of life and interrupts the continued 
earnestness of grown-up men with a joyous children's play. 
Without the dream we should surely age earlier, and thus the 
dream may be considered perhaps not a gift directly from 
above, but a delightful task, a friendly companion, on our 
pilgrimage to the grave." 

The refreshing and curative activity of the dream is even 
more impressively depicted by Purkinje. 53 " The productive 
dreams in particular would perform these functions. They 
are easy plays of the imagination, which have no connection 
with the events of the day. The mind does not wish to con- 
tinue the tension of the waking life, but to release it and re- 
cuperate from it. It produces, in the first place, conditions 
opposed to those of the waking state. It cures sadness through 
joy, worry through hope and cheerfully distracting pictures, 
hatred through love and friendliness, and fear through courage 
and confidence ; it calms doubt through conviction and firm 
belief, and vain expectations through realisation. Many 
sore spots in the mind, which the day keeps continually open, 
sleep heals by covering them and guarding against fresh 
excitement. Upon this the curative effect of time is partially 
based." We all feel that sleep is beneficial to the psychic 
life, and the vague surmise of the popular consciousness ap- 
parently cannot be robbed of the notion that the dream is 
one of the ways in which sleep distributes its benefits. 

The most original and most far-reaching attempt to explain 
the dream as a special activity of the mind, which can freely 
display itself only in the sleeping state, was the one under- 
taken by Schemer 58 in 1861. Schemer's book, written in a 
heavy and bombastic style, inspired by an almost intoxicated 
enthusiasm for the subject, which must repel us unless it can 
carry us away with it, places so many difficulties in the way 
of an analysis that we gladly resort to the clearer and shorter 
description in which the philosopher Volkelt 72 presents 
Schemer's theories : " From the mystic conglomerations and 
from all the gorgeous and magnificent billows there indeed 



70 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

flashes and irradiates an ominous light of sense, but the path 
of the philosopher does not thereby become clearer." Such 
is the criticism of Schemer's description from one of his own 
adherents. 

Schemer does not belong to those authors who allow the 
mind to take along its undiminished capacities into the dream 
life. He indeed explains how in the dream the centrality and 
the spontaneous energy of the ego are enervated, how cogni- 
tion, feeling, will, and imagination become changed through 
this decentralisation, and how no true mental character, but 
only the nature of a mechanism, belongs to the remnants of 
these psychic forces. But instead, the activity of the mind 
designated as phantasy, freed from all rational domination 
and hence completely uncontrolled, rises in the dream to 
absolute supremacy. To be sure, it takes the last building 
stones from the memory of the waking state, but it builds with 
them constructions as different from the structures of the 
waking state as day and night. It shows itself in the dream 
not only reproductive, but productive. Its peculiarities give 
to the dream life its strange character. It shows a preference 
for the unlimited, exaggerated, and prodigious, but because 
freed from the impeding thought categories, it gains a greater 
flexibility and agility and new pleasure ; it is extremely 
sensitive to the delicate emotional stimuli of the mind and to 
the agitating affects, and it rapidly recasts the inner life into 
the outer plastic clearness. The dream phantasy lacks the 
language of ideas ; what it wishes to say, it must clearly depict ; 
and as the idea now acts strongly, it depicts it with the richness, 
force, and immensity of the mode in question. Its language, 
however simple it may be, thus becomes circumstantial, 
cumbersome, and heavy. Clearness of language is rendered 
especially difficult by the fact that it shows a dislike for ex- 
pressing an object by its own picture, but prefers a strange 
picture, if the latter can only express that moment of the 
object which it wishes to describe. This is the symbolising 
activity of the phantasy. ... It is, moreover, of great 
significance that the dream phantasy copies objects not in 
detail, but only in outline and even this in the broadest 
manner. Its paintings, therefore, appear ingeniously light and 
graceful. The dream phantasy, however, does not stop at 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 71 

the mere representation of the object, but is impelled from 
within to mingle with the object more or less of the dream ego, 
and in this way to produce an action. The visual dream, e.g., 
depicts gold coins in the street ; the dreamer picks them up, 
rejoices, and carries them away. 

According to Schemer, the material upon which the dream 
phantasy exerts its artistic activity is preponderately that of 
the organic sensory stimuli which are so obscure during the 
day (comp. p. 29) ; hence the phantastic theory of Schemer, 
and the perhaps over-sober theories of Wundt and other physio- 
logists, though otherwise diametrically opposed, agree perfectly 
in their assumption of the dream sources and dream excitants. 
But whereas, according to the physiological theory, the psychic 
reaction to the inner physical stimuli becomes exhausted with 
the awakening of any ideas suitable to these stimuli, these 
ideas then by way of association calling to their aid other ideas, 
and with this stage the chain of psychic processes seeming to 
terminate according to Schemer, the physical stimuli only 
supply the psychic force with a material which it may render 
subservient to its phantastic intentions. For Schemer the 
formation of the dream only commences where in the con- 
ception of others it comes to an end. 

The treatment of the physical stimuli by the dream phantasy 
surely cannot be considered purposeful. The phantasy plays 
a tantalising game with them, and represents the organic 
source which gives origin to the stimuli in the correspondent 
dream, in any plastic symbolism. Indeed Schemer holds the 
opinion, not shared by Volkelt and others, that the dream 
phantasy has a certain favourite representation for the entire 
organism ; this representation would be the house. Fortu- 
nately, however, it does not seem to limit itself in its presenta- 
tion to this material ; it may also conversely employ a whole 
series of houses to designate a single organ, e.g., very long rows 
of houses for the intestinal excitation. On other occasions 
particular parts of the house actually represent particular parts 
of the body, as e.g., in the headache-dream, the ceiling of the 
room (which the dream sees covered with disgusting reptile- 
like spiders) represents the head. 

Quite irrespective of the house symbolism, any other 
suitable object may be employed for the representation of 



72 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

these parts of the body which excite the dream. " Thus the 
breathing lungs rind their symbol in the flaming stove with its 
gaseous roaring, the heart in hollow boxes and baskets, the 
bladder in round, bag-shaped, or simply hollowed objects. 
The male dream of sexual excitement makes the dreamer find 
in the street the upper portion of a clarinette, next to it the 
same part of a tobacco pipe, and next to that a piece of fur. 
The clarinette and tobacco pipe represent the approximate 
shape of the male sexual organ, while the fur represents the 
pubic hau. Li the female sexual dream the tightness of the 
closely approximated thighs may be symbolised by a narrow 
courtyard surrounded by houses, and the vagina by a very 
narrow, slippery and soft footpath, leading through the court- 
yard, upon which the dreamer is obliged to walk, in order 
perhaps to carry a letter to a gentleman " (Volkelt, p. 39). It 
is particularly noteworthy that at the end of such a physically 
exciting dream, the phantasy, as it were, unmasks by repre- 
senting the exciting organ or its function unconcealed. Thus 
the " tooth-exciting dream " usually ends with the dreamer 
taking a tooth out of his mouth. 

The dream phantasy may, however, not only direct its atten- 
tion to the shape of the exciting organ, but it may also make the 
substance contained therein the object of the synibolisation. 
Thus the dream of intestinal excitement, e.g., may lead us 
through muddy streets, the bladder-exciting dream to foaming 
water. Or the stimulus itself, the manner of its excitation, and 
the object it covets, are represented symbolically, or the dream 
ego enters into a concrete combination with the synibolisation 
of its own state, as e.g., when, in the case of painful stimuli, we 
struggle desperately with vicious dogs or raging bulls, or when 
in the sexual dream the dreamer sees herself pursued by a naked 
man. Disregarding all the possible prolixity of elaboration, a 
symbolising phantastic activity remains as the central force of 
every dream. Volkelt, 72 in his finely and fervently written book, 
next attempted to penetrate further into the character of this 
phantasy and to assign to the psychical activity thus recognised, 
its position in a system of philosophical ideas, which, however, 
remains altogether too difficult of comprehension for any one 
who is not prepared by previous schooling for the sympathetic 
comprehension of philosophical modes of thinking. 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 73 

Scherner connects no useful function with the activity of 
the symbolising phantasy in dreams. In the dream the psyche 
plays with the stimuli at its disposal. One might presume 
that it plays in an improper manner. One might also ask us 
whether our thorough study of Schemer's dream theory, the 
arbitrariness and deviation of which from the rules of all 
investigation are only too obvious, can lead to any useful results. 
It would then be proper for us to forestall the rejection of 
Schemer's theory without examination by saying that this 
would be too arrogant. This theory is built up on the im- 
pression received from his dreams by a man who paid great 
attention to them, and who would appear to be personally very 
well fitted to trace obscure psychic occurrences. Furthermore 
it treats a subject which, for thousands of years, has appeared 
mysterious to humanity though rich in its contents and re- 
lations ; and for the elucidation of which stern science, as it 
confesses itself, has contributed nothing beyond attempting, 
in entire opposition to popular sentiment, to deny the substance 
and significance of the object. Finally, let us frankly admit 
that apparently we cannot avoid the phantastical in our 
attempts to elucidate the dream. There are also phantastic 
ganglia cells ; the passage cited on p. 63 from a sober and 
exact investigator like Binz, 4 which depicts how the aurora 
of awakening flows along the dormant cell masses of the 
cerebrum, is not inferior in fancifulness and in improbability 
to Schemer's attempts at interpretation. I hope to be able 
to demonstrate that there is something actual underlying the 
latter, though it has only been indistinctly observed and does 
not possess the character of universality entitling it to the 
claim of a dream theory. For the present, Schemer's theory 
of the dream, in its contrast to the medical theory, may perhaps 
lead us to realise between what extremes the explanation of 
dream life is still unsteadily vacillating. 

(h) Relations between the Dream and Mental Diseases. — When 
we speak of the relation of the dream to mental disturbances, 
we may think of three different things : (1) Etiological and 
clinical relations, as when a dream represents or initiates a 
psychotic condition, or when it leaves such a condition behind 
it. (2) Changes to which the dream life is subjected in mental 
diseases. (3) Inner relations between the dream and the 



74 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

psychoses, analogies indicating an intimate relationship. 
These manifold, relations between the two series of phenomena 
have been a favourite theme of medical authors in the earlier 
periods of medical science — and again in recent times — as we 
learn from the literature on the subject gathered from Spitta, 64 
Radestock, 54 Maury, 48 and Tissie. 68 Sante de Sanctis has 
lately directed his attention to this relationship. For the 
purposes of our discussion it will suffice merely to glance at 
this important subject. 

In regard to the clinical and etiological relations between 
the dream and the psychoses, I will report the following 
observations as paradigms. Hohnbaum asserts (see Krauss, 
p. 39), that the first attack of insanity frequently originates 
in an anxious and terrifying dream, and that the ruling idea 
has connection with this dream. Sante de Sanctis adduces 
similar observations in paranoiacs, and declares the dream 
to be, in some of them, the " vraie cause determinante de la 
folie." The psychosis may come to life all of a sudden with the 
dream causing and containing the explanation for the mental 
disturbances, or it may slowly develop through further dreams 
that have yet to struggle against doubt. In one of de Sanctis's 
cases, the affecting dream was accompanied by light hysterical 
attacks, which in their turn were followed by an anxious, 
melancholic state. Fere (cited by Tissie) refers to a dream 
which caused an hysterical paralysis. Here the dream is 
offered us as an etiology of mental disturbance, though we 
equally consider the prevailing conditions when we declare 
that the mental disturbance shows its first manifestation in 
dream life, that it has its first outbreak in the dream. In 
other instances the dream life contained the morbid symp- 
toms, or the psychosis was limited to the dream life. Thus 
Thomayer 70 calls attention to anxiety dreams which must be 
conceived as equivalent to epileptic attacks. Allison has 
described nocturnal insanity (cited by Radestock), in which 
the subjects are apparently perfectly well in the day-time, 
while hallucinations, fits of frenzy, and the like regularly 
appear at night. De Sanctis and Tissie report similar ob- 
servations (paranoiac dream-equivalent in an alcoholic, voices 
accusing a wife of infidelity). Tissie reports abundant ob- 
servations from recent times in which actions of a pathological 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 75 

character (based on delusions, obsessive impulses) had their 
origin in dreams. Guislain describes a case in which sleep 
was replaced by an intermittent insanity. 

There is hardly any doubt that along with the psychology 
of the dream, the physician will one day occupy himself with 
the psychopathology of the dream. 

In cases of convalescence from insanity, it is often especially 
obvious that, while the functions of the day are normal, the 
dream life may still belong to the psychosis. Gregory is said 
first to have called attention to such cases (cited by Krauss 39 ). 
Macario (reported by Tissie) gives account of a maniac who, 
a week after his complete recovery again experienced in 
dreams the flight of ideas and the passionate impulses of his 
disease. 

Concerning the changes to which the dream life is sub- 
jected in chronic psychotic persons, very few investigations 
have so far been made. On the other hand, timely attention 
has been called to the inner relationship between the dream 
and mental disturbance, which shows itself in an extensive 
agreement of the manifestations occurring to both. According 
to Maury, 47 Cubanis, in his Rapports du physique et du moral, 
first called attention to this ; following him came Lelut, 
J. Moreau, and more particularly the philosopher Maine de 
Biran. To be sure, the comparison is still older. Radestock 54 
begins the chapter dealing with this comparison, by giving a 
collection of expressions showing the analogy between the 
dream and insanity. Kant somewhere says : " The lunatic 
is a dreamer in the waking state." According to Krauss 
" Insanity is a dream with the senses awake." Schopenhauer 
terms the dream a short insanity, and insanity a long dream. 
Hagen describes the delirium as dream life which has not 
been caused by sleep but by disease. Wundt, in the Physio- 
logical Psychology, declares : "As a matter of fact we may in 
the dream ourselves five through almost all symptoms which 
we meet in the insane asylums." 

The specific agreements, on the basis of which such an 
identification commends itself to the understanding, are 
enumerated by Spitta. 64 And indeed, very similarly, by Maury 
in the following grouping : " (1) Suspension or at least re- 
tardation, of self-consciousness, consequent ignorance of the 



76 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

condition as such, and hence incapability of astonishment 
and lack of moral consciousness. (2) Modified perception of 
the sensory organs ; that is, perception is diminished in the 
dream and generally enhanced in insanity. (3) Combination 
of ideas with each other exclusively in accordance with the 
laws of association and of reproduction, hence automatic 
formation of groups and for this reason disproportion in the 
relations between ideas (exaggerations, phantasms). And as 
a result of all this : (4) Changing or transformation of the 
personality and at times of the peculiarities of character 
(perversities)." 

Radestock gives some additional features or analogies in 
the material : " Most hallucinations and illusions are found in 
the sphere of the senses of sight and hearing and general 
sensation. As in the dream, the smallest number of elements 
is supplied by the senses of smell and taste. The fever 
patient, like the dreamer, is assaulted by reminiscences from 
the remote past ; what the waking and healthy man seems 
to have forgotten is recollected in sleep and in disease." The 
analogy between the dream and the psychosis receives its full 
value only when, like a family resemblance, it is extended to 
the finer mimicry and to the individual peculiarities of facial 
expression. 

" To him who is tortured by physical and mental sufferings 
the dream accords what has been denied him by reality, to 
wit, physical well-being and happiness ; so the insane, too, 
see the bright pictures of happiness, greatness, subhmity, and 
riches. The supposed possession of estates and the imaginary 
fulfilment of wishes, the denial or destruction of which have 
just served as a psychic cause of the insanity, often form the 
main content of the delirium. The woman who has lost a 
dearly beloved child, in her delirium experiences maternal 
joys ; the man who has suffered reverses of fortune deems 
himself immensely wealthy ; and the jilted girl pictures herself 
in the bliss of tender love." 

The above passage from Radestock, an abstract of a keen 
discussion of Griesinger 31 (p. Ill), reveals with the greatest 
clearness the wish fulfilment as a characteristic of the imagina- 
tion, common to the dream and the psychosis. (My own 
investigations have taught me that here the key to a 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 77 

psychological theory of the dream and of the psychosis is to 
be found.) 

" Absurd combinations of ideas and weakness of judgment 
are the main characteristics of the dream and of insanity." 
The over-estimation of one's own mental capacity, which 
appears absurd to sober judgment, is found alike both in one 
and the other, and the rapid course of ideas in the dream 
corresponds to the flight of ideas in the psychosis. Both are 
devoid of any measure of time. The dissociation of personality 
in the dream, which, for instance, distributes one's own know- 
ledge between two persons, one of whom, the strange one, 
corrects in the dream one's own ego, fully corresponds to the 
well-known splitting of personality in hallucinatory paranoia ; 
the dreamer, too, hears his own thoughts expressed by strange 
voices. Even the constant delusions find their analogy in the 
stereotyped recurring pathological dreams (rive obsedant). 
After recovering from a delirium, patients not infrequently 
declare that the disease appeared to them like an uncomfort- 
able dream ; indeed, they inform us that occasionally, even 
during the course of their sickness, they have felt that they 
were only dreaming, just as it frequently happens in the 
sleeping dream. 

Considering all this, it is not surprising that Radestock 
condenses his own opinion and that of many others into the 
following : " Insanity, an abnormal phenomenon of disease, is 
to be regarded as an enhancement of the periodically recurring 
normal dream states " (p. 228). 

Krauss 39 attempted to base the relationship between the 
dream and insanity upon the etiology (or rather upon the 
exciting sources), perhaps making the relationship even more 
intimate than was possible through the analogy of the pheno- 
mena they manifest. According to him, the fundamental 
element common to both is, as we have learned, the organically 
determined sensation, the sensation of physical stimuli, the 
general feeling produced by contributions from all the organs. 
Cf. Peise, cited by Maury « (p. 60). 

The incontestable agreement between the dream and 
mental disturbance, extending into characteristic details, 
constitutes one of the strongest supports of the medical theory 
of dream life, according to which the dream is represented as a 



78 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

useless and disturbing process and as the expression of a reduced 
psychic activity. One cannot expect, however, to derive the 
final explanation of the dream from the mental disturbances, 
as it is generally known in what unsatisfactory state our 
understanding of the origin of the latter remains. It is very 
probably, however, that a modified conception of the dream 
must also influence our views in regard to the inner mechanism 
of mental disturbances, and hence we may say that we are 
engaged in the elucidation of the psychosis when we endeavour 
to clear up the mystery of the dream. 

I shall have to justify myself for not extending my summary 
of the literature of the dream problems over the period be- 
tween the first appearance of this book and its second edition. 
If this justification may not seem very satisfactory to the 
reader, I was nevertheless influenced by it. The motives 
which mainly induced me to summarise the treatment of the 
dream in the literature have been exhausted with the foregoing 
introduction ; to have continued with this work would have 
cost me extraordinary effort and would have afforded little 
advantage or knowledge. For the period of nine years referred 
to has yielded nothing new or valuable either for the conception 
of the dream in actual material or in points of view. In most 
of the publications that have since appeared my work has 
remained unmentioned and unregarded ; naturally least 
attention has been bestowed upon it by the so-called " investi- 
gators of dreams," who have thus afforded a splendid example 
of the aversion characteristic of scientific men to learning 
something new. " Les savants ne sont pas curieux," said 
the scoffer Anatole France. If there were such a thing in 
science as right to revenge, I in turn should be justified in 
ignoring the literature since the appearance of this book. 
The few accounts that have appeared in scientific journals 
are so full of folly and misconception that my only possible 
answer to my critics would be to request them to read this 
book over again. Perhaps also the request should be that 
they read it as a whole. 

In the works of those physicians who make use of the 
psychoanalytic method of treatment (Jung, Abraham, Riklin, 
Muthmann, Stekel, Rank, and others), an abundance of dreams 
have been reported and interpreted in accordance with my 



LITERATURE OF THE DREAM 79 

instructions. In so far as these works go beyond the con- 
firmation of my assertions I have noted their results in the 
context of my discussion. A supplement to the literary 
index at the end of this book brings together the most im- 
portant of these new publications. The voluminous book on 
the dream by Sante de Sanctis, of which a German translation 
appeared soon after its publication, has, so to speak, crossed 
with mine, so that I could take as little notice of him as the 
Italian author could of me. Unfortunately, I am further 
obliged to declare that this laborious work is exceedingly 
poor in ideas, so poor that one could never divine from it the 
existence of the problems treated by me. 

I have finally to mention two publications which show a 
near relation to my treatment of the dream problems. A 
younger philosopher, H. Swoboda, who has undertaken to 
extend W. Fliesse's discovery of biological periodicity (in 
groups of twenty- three and twenty-eight days) to the psychic 
field, has produced an imaginative work,* in which, among 
other things, he has used this key to solve the riddle of the 
dream. The interpretation of dreams would herein have 
fared badly ; the material contained in dreams would be 
explained through the coincidence of all those memories 
which during the night complete one of the biological periods 
for the first or the n-th time. A personal statement from the 
author led me to assume that he himself no longer wished to 
advocate this theory earnestly. But it seems I was mistaken 
in this conclusion ; I shall report in another place some ob- 
servations in reference to Swoboda's assertion, concerning the 
conclusions of which I am, however, not convinced. It gave 
me far greater pleasure to find accidentally, in an unexpected 
place, a conception of the dream in essentials fully agreeing 
with my own. The circumstances of time preclude the possi- 
bility that this conception was influenced by a reading of my 
book ; I must therefore greet this as the only demonstrable 
concurrence in the literature with the essence of my dream 
theory. The book which contains the passage concerning the 
dream which I have in mind was published as a second edition 
in 1900 by Lynkus under the title Phantasien eines Realisten. 

* H. Swoboda, Die Perioden des Menschlichen Organismus, 1904. 



II 

METHOD OF DREAM INTERPRETATION 

THE ANALYSIS OF A SAMPLE DREAM 

The title which I have given my treatise indicates the tradition 
which I wish to make the starting-point in my discussion of 
dreams. I have made it my task to show that dreams are 
capable of interpretation, and contributions to the solution 
of the dream problems that have just been treated can only be 
yielded as possible by-products of the settlement of my own 
particular problem. With the hypothesis that dreams are 
interpretable, I at once come into contradiction with the 
prevailing dream science, in fact with all dream theories except 
that of Schemer, for to " interpret a dream " means to declare 
its meaning, to replace it by something which takes its place 
in the concatenation of our psychic activities as a link of full 
importance and value. But, as we have learnt, the scientific 
theories of the dream leave no room for a problem of dream 
interpretation, for, in the first place, according to these, the 
dream is no psychic action, but a somatic process which makes 
itself known to the psychic apparatus by means of signs. The 
opinion of the masses has always been quite different. It 
asserts its privilege of proceeding illogically, and although it 
admits the dream to be incomprehensible and absurd, it 
cannot summon the resolution to deny the dream all significance. 
Led by a dim intuition, it seems rather to assume that the 
dream has a meaning, albeit a hidden one ; that it is intended 
as a substitute for some other thought process, and that it is 
only a question of revealing this substitute correctly in order 
to reach the hidden signification of the dream. 

The laity has, therefore, always endeavoured to " interpret " 
the dream, and in doing so has tried two essentially different 
methods. The first of these procedures regards the dream 
content as a whole and seeks to replace it by another content 

80 



METHOD OF INTERPRETATION 81 

which is intelligible and in certain respects analogous. This 
is symbolic dream interpretation ; it naturally goes to pieces 
at the outset in the case of those dreams which appear not only 
unintelligible but confused. The construction which the 
biblical Joseph places upon the dream of Pharaoh furnishes 
an example of its procedure. The seven fat kine, after which 
came seven lean ones which devour the former, furnish a 
symbolic substitute for a prediction of seven years of famine 
in the land of Egypt, which will consume all the excess which 
seven fruitful years have created. Most of the artificial dreams 
contrived by poets are intended for such symbolic interpreta- 
tion, for they reproduce the thought conceived by the poet 
in a disguise found to be in accordance with the characteristics 
of our dreaming, as we know these from experience.* The 
idea that the dream concerns itself chiefly with future events 
whose course it surmises in advance — a relic of the prophetic 
significance with which dreams were once credited — now 
becomes the motive for transplanting the meaning of the 
dream, found by means of symbolic interpretation, into the 
future by means of an " it shall." 

A demonstration of the way in which such symbolic inter- 
pretation is arrived at cannot, of course, be given. Success 
remains a matter of ingenious conjecture, of direct intuition, 
and for this reason dream interpretation has naturally been 
elevated to an art, which seems to depend upon extraordinary 
gifts. f The other of the two popular methods of dream 
interpretation entirely abandons such claims. It might be 

* In a novel, Gradiva, of the poet W. Jensen, I accidentally discovered 
several artificial dreams which were formed with perfect correctness and 
which could be interpreted as though they had not been invented, but had 
been dreamt by actual persons. The poet declared, upon my inquiry, that 
he was unacquainted with my theory of dreams. I have made use of this 
correspondence between my investigation and the creative work of the poet 
as a proof of the correctness of my method of dream analysis (" Der Wahn 
und die Träume," in W. Jensen's Gradiva, No. 1 of the Schriften zur 
angewandten Seelenkunde, 1906, edited by me). Dr. Alfred Robitsek has 
since shown that the dream of the hero in Goethe's Egmont may be inter- 
preted as correctly as an actually experienced dream (" Die Analyse von 
Egmont's Träume," Jahrbuch, edited by Bleuler-Freud, vol. ii., 1910.) 

t After the completion of my manuscript, a paper by Stumpf ( Sä ) came 
to my notice which agrees with my work in attempting to prove that the 
dream is full of meaning and capable of interpretation. But the interpre- 
tation is undertaken by means of an allegorising symbolism, without warrant 
for the universal applicability of the procedure. 

F 



82 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

designated as the " cipher method," since it treats the dream 
as a kind of secret code, in which every sign is translated into 
another sign of known meaning, according to an established 
key. For example, I have dreamt of a letter, and also of a 
funeral or the like ; I consult a " dream book," and find that 
" letter " is to be translated by " vexation," and " funeral " 
by " marriage, engagement." It now remains to establish a 
connection, which I again am to assume pertains to the future, 
by means of the rigmarole which I have deciphered. An 
interesting variation of this cipher procedure, a variation by 
which its character of purely mechanical transference is to a 
certain extent corrected, is presented in the work on dream 
interpretation by Artemidoros of Daldis. 2 Here not only the 
dream content, but also the personality and station in life of 
the dreamer, are taken into consideration, so that the same 
dream content has a significance for the rich man, the married 
man, or the orator, which is different from that for the poor 
man, the unmarried man, or, say, the merchant. The essential 
point, then, in this procedure is that the work of interpretation 
is not directed to the entirety of the dream, but to each portion 
of the dream content by itself, as though the dream were a 
conglomeration, in which each fragment demands a particular 
disposal. Incoherent and confused dreams are certainly the 
ones responsible for the invention of the cipher method.* 

* Dr. Alfred Robitsek calls my attention to the fact that Oriental dream 
books, of which ours are pitiful plagiarisms, undertake the interpretation of 
dream elements, mostly according to the assonance and similarity of the 
words. Since these relationships must be lost by translation into our 
language, the incomprehensibility of the substitutions in our popular " dream 
books " may have its origin in this fact. Information as to the extraordinary 
significance of puns and punning in ancient Oriental systems of culture may 
be found in the writings of Hugo Winckler. The nicest example of a dream 
interpretation which lias come down to us from antiquity is based on a play 
upon words. Artemidoros 2 relates the following (p. 225) : " It seems to me 
that Aristandros gives a happy interpretation to Alexander of Macedon. 
When the latter held Tyros shut in and in a state of siege, and was angry 
and depressed over the great loss of time, he dreamed that he saw a Satyros 
dancing on his shield. It happened that Aristandros was near Tyros and in 
the convoy of the king, who was waging war on the Syrians. By disjoining 
the woi'd Satyros into <ra and rfyos, he induced the king to become more 
aggressive in the siege, and thus he became master of the city. (2a Tipos — 
thine is Tyros.) The dream, indeed, is so intimately connected with verbal 
expression that Ferenczi" may justly remark that every tongue has its 
own dream language. Dreams are, as a rule, not translatable into other 
languages. 



t I 



METHOD OF INTERPRETATION 83 

The worthlessness of both these popular interpretation 
procedures for the scientific treatment of the subject cannot be 
questioned for a moment. The symbolic method is limited 
in its application and is capable of no general demonstration. 
In the cipher method everything depends upon whether the 
key, the dream book, is reliable, and for that all guarantees 
are lacking. One might be tempted to grant the contention 
of the philosophers and psychiatrists and to dismiss the 
problem of dream interpretation as a fanciful one. 

I have come, however, to think differently. I have been 
forced to admit that here once more we have one of those nob 
infrequent cases where an ancient and stubbornly retained 
popular belief seems to have come nearer to the truth of the 
matter than the judgment of the science which prevails to-day. 
I must insist that the dream actually has significance, and that 
a scientific procedure in dream interpretation is possible. I 
have come upon the knowledge of this procedure in the follow- 
ing manner : — 

For several years I have been occupied with the solution 
of certain psychopathological structures in hysterical phobias, 
compulsive ideas, and the like, for therapeutic purposes. I 
have been so occupied since becoming familiar with an import- 
ant report of Joseph Breuer to the effect that in those struc- 
tures, regarded as morbid symptoms, solution and treatment 
go hand in hand.* Where it has been possible to trace such 
a pathological idea back to the elements in the psychic life of 
the patient to which it owes its origin, this idea has crumbled 
away, and the patient has been relieved of it. In view of the 
failure of our other therapeutic efforts, and in the face of the 
mysteriousness of these conditions, it seems to me tempting, in 
spite of all difficulties, to press forward on the path taken by 
Breuer until the subject has been fully understood. We shall 
have elsewhere to make a detailed report upon the form which 
the technique of this procedure has finally assumed, and the 
results of the efforts which have been made. In the course 
of these psychoanalytical studies, I happened upon dream 
interpretation. My patients, after I had obliged them to 
inform me of all the ideas and thoughts which came to them in 
connection with the given theme, related their dreams, and 

* Breuer and Freud, Studien über Hysterie, Vienna, 1895 ; 2nd ed. 1909. 



84 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

thus taught me that a dream may be linked into the psychic 
concatenation which must be followed backwards into the 
memory from the pathological idea as a starting-point. The 
next step was to treat the dream as a symptom, and to apply 
to it the method of interpretation which had been worked out 
for such symptoms. 

For this a certain psychic preparation of the patient is 
necessary. The double effort is made with him, to stimulate 
his attention for his psychic perceptions and to eliminate the 
critique with which he is ordinarily in the habit of viewing 
the thoughts which come to the surface in him. For the pur- 
pose of self-observation with concentrated attention, it is 
advantageous that the patient occupy a restful position and 
close his eyes ; he must be explicitly commanded to resign 
the critique of the thought-formations which he perceives. 
He must be told further that the success of the psychoanalysis 
depends upon his noticing and telling everything that passes 
through his mind, and that he must not allow himself to 
suppress one idea because it seems to him unimportant or 
irrelevant to the subject, or another because it seems non- 
sensical. He must maintain impartiality towards his ideas ; 
for it would be owing to just this critique if he were unsuccessful 
in finding the desired solution of the dream, the obsession, or 
the like. 

I have noticed in the course of my psychoanalytic work 
that the state of mind of a man in contemplation is entirely 
different from that of a man who is observing his psychic 
processes. In contemplation there is a greater play of psychic 
action than in the most attentive self-observation ; this is 
also shown by the tense attitude and wrinkled brow of 
contemplation, in contrast with the restful features of self- 
observation. In both cases, there must be concentration of 
attention, but, besides this, in contemplation one exercises a 
critique, in consequence of which he rejects some of the ideas 
which he has perceived, and cuts short others, so that he does 
not follow the trains of thought which they would open ; 
toward still other thoughts he may act in such a manner that 
they do not become conscious at all — that is to say, they are 
suppressed before they are perceived. In self-observation, 
on the other hand, one has only the task of suppressing the 



METHOD OF INTERPRETATION 85 

critique ; if he succeeds in this, an unlimited, number of ideas, 
which otherwise would have been impossible for him to grasp, 
come to his consciousness. With the aid of this material, 
newly secured for the purpose of self-observation, the inter- 
pretation of pathological ideas, as well as of dream images, can 
be accomplished. As may be seen, the point is to bring about 
a psychic state to some extent analogous as regards the appor- 
tionment of psychic energy (transferable attention) to the 
state prior to falling asleep (and indeed also to the hypnotic 
state). In falling asleep, the " undesired ideas " come into 
prominence on account of the slackening of a certain arbitrary 
(and certainly also critical) action, which we allow to exert 
an influence upon the trend of our ideas ; we are accustomed 
to assign " fatigue " as the reason for this slackening ; the 
emerging undesired ideas as the reason are changed into visual 
and acoustic images. {Gf. the remarks of Schleiermacher 61 ) 
and others, p. 40.) In the condition which is used for the 
analysis of dreams and pathological ideas, this activity is 
purposely and arbitrarily dispensed with, and the psychic 
energy thus saved, or a part of it, is used for the attentive 
following of the undesired thoughts now coming to the surface, 
which retain their identity as ideas (this is the difference from 
the condition of falling asleep). " Undesired ideas " are thus 
changed into " desired " ones. 

The suspension thus required of the critique for these 
apparently " freely rising " ideas, which is here demanded 
and which is usually exercised on them, is not easy for some 
persons. The " undesired ideas " are in the habit of starting 
the most violent resistance, which seeks to prevent them from 
coming to the surface. But if we may credit our great poet- 
philosopher Friedrich Schiller, a very similar tolerance must 
be the condition of poetic production. At a point in his 
correspondence with Koerner, for the noting of which we are 
indebted to Mr. Otto Rank, Schiller answers a friend who 
complains of his lack of creativeness in the following words : 
" The reason for your complaint lies, it seems to me, in the 
constraint which your intelligence imposes upon your imagina- 
tion. I must here make an observation and illustrate it by an 
allegory. It does not seem beneficial, and it is harmful for 
the creative work of the mind, if the intelligence inspects too 



86 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

closely the ideas already pouring in, as it were, at the gates. 
Regarded by itself, an idea may be very trifling and very ad- 
venturous, but it perhaps becomes important on account of 
one which follows it ; perhaps in a certain connection with 
others, which may seem equally absurd, it is capable of forming 
a very useful construction. The intelligence cannot judge all 
these things if it does not hold them steadily long enough to 
see them in connection with the others. In the case of a 
creative mind, however, the intelligence has withdrawn its 
watchers from the gates, the ideas rush in pell-mell, and it is 
only then that the great heap is looked over and critically 
examined. Messrs. Critics, or whatever else you may call 
yourselves, you are ashamed or afraid of the momentary and 
transitory madness which is found in all creators, and whose 
longer or shorter duration distinguishes the thinking artist 
from the dreamer. Hence your complaints about barrenness, 
for you reject too soon and discriminate too severely " (Letter 
of December 1, 1788). 

And yet, " such a withdrawal of the watchers from the 
gates of intelligence," as Schiller calls it, such a shifting into 
the condition of uncritical self-observation, is in no way 
difficult. 

Most of my patients accomplish it after the first instructions ; 
I myself can do it very perfectly, if I assist the operation by 
writing down my notions. The amount, in terms of psychic 
energy, by which the critical activity is in this maimer reduced, 
and by which the intensity of the self-observation may be 
increased, varies widely according to the subject matter upon 
which the attention is to be fixed. 

The first step in the application of this procedure now 
teaches us that not the dream as a whole, but only the parts 
of its contents separately, may be made the object of our 
attention. If I ask a patient who is as yet unpractised : 
" What occurs to you in connection with this dream ? " as 
a rule he is unable to fix upon anything in his psychic field of 
vision. I must present the dream to him piece by piece, then 
for every fragment he gives me a series of notions, which 
may be designated as the " background thoughts " of this 
part of the dream. In this first and important condition, then, 
the method of dream interpretation which I employ avoids 



METHOD OF INTERPRETATION 87 

the popular, traditional method of interpretation by symbolism 
famous in the legends, and approaches the second, the " cipher 
method." Like this one it is an interpretation in detail, not 
en masse; like this it treats the dream from the beginning as 
something put together — as a conglomeration of psychic images. 
In the course of my psychoanalysis of neurotics, I have 
indeed already subjected many thousand dreams to inter- 
pretation, but I do not now wish to use this material in the 
introduction to the technique and theory of dream interpreta- 
tion. Quite apart from the consideration that I should expose 
myself to the objection that these are dreams of neuropathic 
subjects, the conclusions drawn from which would not admit 
of reapplication to the dreams of healthy persons, another 
reason forces me to reject them. The theme which is naturally 
always the subject of these dreams, is the history of the disease 
which is responsible for the neurosis. For this purpose there 
would be required a very long introduction and an investiga- 
tion into the nature and logical conditions of psychoneuroses, 
things which are in themselves novel and unfamiliar in the 
highest degree, and which would thus distract attention from 
the dream problem. My purpose lies much more in the 
direction of preparing the ground for a solution of difficult 
problems in the psychology of the neuroses by means of the 
solution of dreams. But if I ehminate the dreams of neurotics, 
I must not treat the remainder too discriminatingly. Only 
those dreams still remain which have been occasionally related 
to me by healthy persons of my acquaintance, or which I find 
as examples in the literature of dream life. Unfortunately 
in all these dreams the analysis is lacking, without which I 
cannot find the meaning of the dream. My procedure is, of 
course, not as easy as that of the popular cipher method, which 
translates the given dream content according to an established 
key ; I am much more prepared to find that the same dream 
may cover a different meaning in the case of different persons, 
and in a different connection I must then resort to my own 
dreams, as an abundant and convenient material, furnished 
by a person who is about normal, and having reference to many 
incidents of everyday life. I shall certainly be with doubts 
as to the trustworthiness of these " self -analyses." Arbitrari- 
ness is here in no way avoided. In my opinion, conditions are 



88 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

more likely to be favourable in self-observation than in the 
observation of others ; in any case, it is permissible to see how 
much can be accomplished by means of self-analysis. I must 
overcome further difficulties arising from inner self. One has 
a readily understood aversion to exposing so many intimate 
things from one's own psychic life, and one does not feel safe 
from the misinterpretation of strangers. But one must be 
able to put one's self beyond this. " Toute psychologiste," 
writes Delboeuf, 26 " est oblige de faire l'aveu meme de ses 
faiblesses s'il croit par lä jeter du jour sur quelque probleme 
obscure." And I may assume that in the case of the reader, 
the immediate interest in the indiscretions which I must 
commit will very soon give way to exclusive engrossment in 
the psychological problems which are illuminated by them. 

I shall, therefore, select one of my own dreams and use it to 
elucidate my method of interpretation. Every such dream 
necessitates a preliminary statement. I must now beg the 
reader to make my interests his own for a considerable time, 
and to become absorbed with me in the most trifling details 
of my life, for an interest in the hidden significance of dreams 
imperatively demands such transference. 

Preliminary statement : In the summer of 1895 I had 
psychoanalytically treated a young lady who stood in close 
friendship to me and those near to me. It is to be understood 
that such a complication of relations may be the source of 
manifold feelings for the physician, especially for the psycho- 
therapist. The personal interest of the physician is greater, 
his authority is less. A failure threatens to undermine the 
friendship with the relatives of the patient. The cure ended 
with partial success, the patient got rid of her hysterical fear, 
but not of all her somatic symptoms. I was at that time 
not yet sure of the criteria marking the final settlement of a 
hysterical case, and expected her to accept a solution which did 
not seem acceptable to her. In this disagreement, we cut 
short the treatment on account of the summer season. One 
day a younger colleague, one of my best friends, who had 
visited the patient — Irma — and her family in their country 
resort, came to see me. I asked him how he found her, and 
received the answer : " She is better, but not altogether well." 
I realise that those words of my friend Otto, or the tone of 



METHOD OF INTERPRETATION 89 

voice in which they were spoken, made me angry. I thought 
I heard a reproach in the words, perhaps to the effect that I 
had promised the patient too much, and rightly or wrongly 
I traced Otto's supposed siding against me to the influence 
of the relatives of the patient, who, I assume, had never 
approved of my treatment. Moreover, my disagreeable im- 
pression did not become clear to me, nor did I give it ex- 
pression. The very same evening, I wrote down the history 
of Irma's case, in order to hand it, as though for my justifica- 
tion, to Dr. M., a mutual friend, who was at that time a leading 
figure in our circle. During the night following this evening 
(perhaps rather in the morning) I had the following dream, 
which was registered immediately after waking : — 

Dream of July 23-24, 1895 

A great hall — many guests whom we are receiving — among 
them Irma, whom I immediately take aside, as though to answer 
her letter, to reproach her for not yet accepting the " solution." 
I say to her : "If you still have pains, it is really only your own 
fault." She answers : "If you only knew what pains I now 
have in the neck, stomach, and abdomen ; I am drawn together." 
I am frightened and look at her. She looks pale and bloated ; I 
think that after all I must be overlooking some organic affection. 
I take her to the window and look into her throat. She shows 
some resistance to this, like a woman who has a false set of teeth. 
I think anyway she does not need them. The mouth then really 
opens without difficulty and I find a large white spot to the right, 
and at another place I see extended grayish-white scabs attached 
to curious curling formations, which have obviously been formed 
like the turbinated bone — / quickly call Dr. M., who repeats the 
examination and confirms it. . . . Dr. M.'s looks are altogether 
unusual ; he is very pale, limps, and has no beard on his chin. 
. . . My friend Otto is now also standing next to her, and my 
friend Leopold percusses her small body and says : " She has 
some dulness on the left below," and also calls attention to an 
infiltrated portion of the skin on the left shoulder (something 
which I feel as he does, in spite of the dress). . . . M . says : " No 
doubt it is an infection, but it does not matter ; dysentery will 
develop too, and the poison will be excreted. . . . We also have 



90 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

immediate knowledge of the origin of the infection. My friend 
Otto has recently given her an injection with a propyl preparation 
when she felt ill, propyls. . . . Propionic acid . . . Trimethy- 
lamine {the formula of which I see printed before me in heavy 
type). . . . Such injections are not made so rashly. . . . Pro- 
bably also the syringe was not clean. 

This dream has an advantage over many others. It is 
at once clear with what events of the preceding day it is con- 
nected, and what subject it treats. The preliminary statement 
gives information on these points. The news about Irma's 
health which I have received from Otto, the history of the 
illness upon which I have written until late at night, have 
occupied my psychic activity even during sleep. In spite of 
all this, no one, who has read the preliminary report and has 
knowledge of the content of the dream, has been able to guess 
what the dream signifies. Nor do I myself know. I wonder 
about the morbid symptoms, of which Irma complains in the 
dream, for they are not the same ones for which I have treated 
her. I smile about the consultation with Dr. M. I smile at 
the nonsensical idea of an injection with propionic acid, and at 
the consolation attempted by Dr. M. Towards the end the 
dream seems more obscure and more terse than at the be- 
ginning. In order to learn the significance of all this, I am 
compelled to undertake a thorough analysis. 

Analysis 

The hall — many guests, whom we are receiving. 

We were living this summer at the Bellevue, in an isolated 
house on one of the hills which he close to the Kahlenberg. 
This house was once intended as a place of amusement, and 
on this account has unusually high, hall-like rooms. The 
dream also occurred at the Bellevue, a few days before the 
birthday of my wife. During the day, my wife had expressed 
the expectation that several friends, among them Irma, would 
come to us as guests for her birthday. My dream, then, 
anticipates this situation : It is the birthday of my wife, and 
many people, among them Irma, are received by us as guests 
in the great hall of the Bellevue. 

/ reproach Irma for not having accepted the solution. I say : 
" If you still have pains, it is your own fault." 



METHOD OF INTERPRETATION 91 

I might have said this also, or did say it, while awake. At 
that time I had the opinion (recognised later to be incorrect) 
that my task was limited to informing patients of the hidden 
meaning of their symptoms. Whether they then accepted or 
did not accept the solution upon which success depended — for 
that I was not responsible. I am thankful to this error, which 
fortunately has now been overcome, for making life easier for 
me at a time when, with all my unavoidable ignorance, I 
was to produce successful cures. But I see in the speech 
which I make to Irma in the dream, that above all things I 
do not want to be to blame for the pains which she still feels. 
If it is Irma's own fault, it cannot be mine. Should the 
purpose of the dream be looked for in this quarter ? 

Irma's complaints ; pains in the neck, abdomen, and stomach ; 
she is drawn together. 

Pains in the stomach belonged to the symptom-complex of 
my patient, but they were not very prominent ; she com- 
plained rather of sensations of nausea and disgust. Pains in 
the neck and abdomen and constriction of the throat hardly 
played a part in her case. I wonder why I decided upon this 
choice of symptoms, nor can I for the moment find the reason. 

She looks pale and bloated. 

My patient was always ruddy. I suspect that another 
person is here being substituted for her. 

/ am frightened at the thought that I must have overlooked some 
organic affection. 

This, as the reader will readily believe, is a constant fear 
with the specialist, who sees neurotics almost exclusively, 
and who is accustomed to ascribe so many manifestations, 
which other physicians treat as organic, to hysteria. On the 
other hand, I am haunted by a faint doubt — I know not whence 
it comes — as to whether my fear is altogether honest. If 
Irma's pains are indeed of organic origin, I am not bound to 
cure them. My treatment, of course, removes only hysterical 
pains. It seems to me, in fact, that I wish to find an error in 
the diagnosis ; in that case the reproach of being unsuccessful 
would be removed. 

/ take her to the window in order to look into her throat. She 
resists a little, like a woman who has false teeth. I think she does 
not need them anyway. 



92 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

I had never had occasion to inspect Irma's aural cavity. 
The incident in the dream reminds me of an examination, 
made some time before, of a governess who at first gave an 
impression of youthful beauty, but who upon opening her 
mouth took certain measures for concealing her teeth. Other 
memories of medical examinations and of little secrets which 
are discovered by them, unpleasantly for both examiner and 
examined, connect themselves with this case. " She does not 
need them anyway," is at first perhaps a compliment for 
Irma ; but I suspect a different meaning. In careful analysis 
one feels whether or not the " background thoughts " which 
are to be expected have been exhausted. The way in which 
Irma stands at the window suddenly reminds me of another 
experience. Irma possesses an intimate woman friend, of 
whom I think very highly. One evening on paying her a visit 
I found her in the position at the window reproduced in the 
dream, and her physician, the same Dr. M., declared that she 
had a diphtheritic membrane. The person of Dr. M. and the 
membrane return in the course of the dream. Now it occurs 
to me that during the last few months, I have been given every 
reason to suppose that this lady is also hysterical. Yes, Irma 
herself has betrayed this to me. But what do I know about 
her condition ? Only the one thing, that like Irma she 
suffers from hysterical choking in dreams. Thus in the 
dream I have replaced my patient by her friend. Now I 
remember that I have often trifled with the expectation that 
this lady might likewise engage me to relieve her of her 
symptoms. But even at the time I thought it improbable, 
for she is of a very shy nature. She resists, as the dream 
shows. Another explanation might be that she does not need 
it ; in fact, until now she has shown herself strong enough to 
master her condition without outside help. Now only a few 
features remain, which I can assign neither to Irma nor to her 
friend : Pale, bloated, false teeth. The false teeth lead me to 
the governess ; I now feel inclined to be satisfied with bad 
teeth. Then another person, to whom these features may 
allude, occurs to me. She is not my patient, and I do not 
wish her to be my patient, for I have noticed that she is not 
at her ease with me, and I do not consider her a docile patient. 
She is generally pale, and once, when she had a particularly 



METHOD OF INTERPRETATION 93 

good spell, she was bloated.* I have thus compared my 
patient Irma with two others, who would likewise resist 
treatment. What can it mean that I have exchanged her for 
her friend in the dream % Perhaps that I wish to exchange 
her ; either the other one arouses in me stronger sympathies 
or I have a higher opinion of her intelligence. For I consider 
Irma foolish because she does not accept my solution. The 
other one would be more sensible, and would thus be more 
likely to yield. The mouth then really opens without difficulty ; 
she would tell more than Irma.| 

What I see in the throat ; a white spot and scabby nostrils. 

The white spot recalls diphtheria, and thus Irma's friend, 
but besides this it recalls the grave illness of my eldest daughter 
two years before and all the anxiety of that unfortunate time. 
The scab on the nostrils reminds me of a concern about my own 
health. At that time I often used cocaine in order to suppress 
annoying swellings in the nose, and had heard a few days before 
that a lady patient who did likewise had contracted an ex- 
tensive necrosis of the nasal mucous membrane. The re- 
commendation of cocaine, which I had made in 1885, had also 
brought grave reproaches upon me. A dear friend, already 
dead in 1895, had hastened his end through the misuse of this 
remedy. 

I quickly call Dr. M., who repeats the examination. 

This would simply correspond to the position which M. 
occupied among us. But the word " quickly " is striking 
enough to demand a special explanation. It reminds me of a 
sad medical experience. By the continued prescription of a 
remedy (sulfonal) which was still at that time considered 
harmless, I had once caused the severe intoxication of a 
woman patient, and I had turned in great haste to an older, 

* The complaint, as yet unexplained, of pains in the abdomen, may also 
be referred to this third person. It is my own wife, of course, who is in 
question ; the abdominal pains remind me of one of the occasions upon 
which her shyness became evident to me. 1 must myself admit that 1 do 
not treat Irma and my wife very gallantly in this dream, but let it be said 
for my excuse that I am judging both of them by the standard of the 
courageous, docile, female patient. 

f I suspect that the interpretation of this portion has not been carried 
far enough to follow every hidden meaning. If I were to continue the 
comparison of the three women, I would go far afield. Every dream has at 
least one point at which it is unfathomable, a central point, as it were, con- 
necting it with the unknown. 



94 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

more experienced colleague for assistance. The fact that I 
really had this case in mind is confirmed by an accessory 
circumstance. The patient, who succumbed to the intoxica- 
tion, bore the same name as my eldest daughter. I had never 
thought of this until now ; now it seems to me almost like a 
retribution of fate — as though I ought to continue the replace- 
ment of the persons here in another sense ; this Matilda for 
that Matilda ; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. It is as 
though I were seeking every opportunity to reproach myself 
with lack of medical conscientiousness. 

Dr. M. is pale, without a beard on his chin, and he limps. 

Of this so much is correct, that his unhealthy appearance 
often awakens the concern of his friends. The other two 
characteristics must belong to another person. A brother 
living abroad occurs to me, who wears his chin clean-shaven, 
and to whom, if I remember aright, M. of the dream on the 
whole bears some resemblance. About him the news arrived 
some days before that he was lame on account of an arthritic 
disease in the hip. There must be a reason why I fuse the two 
persons into one in the dream. I remember that in fact I 
was on bad terms with both of them for similar reasons. Both 
of them had rejected a certain proposal which I had recently 
made to them. 

My friend Otto is now standing next to the sick woman, and 
my friend Leopold examines her and calls attention to a dulness 
on the left below. 

My friend Leopold is also a physician, a relative of Otto. 
Since the two practise the same specialty, fate has made them 
competitors, who are continually being compared with each 
other. Both of them assisted me for years, while I was still 
directing a public dispensary for nervous children. Scenes 
like the one reproduced in the dream have often taken place 
there. While I was debating with Otto about the diagnosis of 
a case, Leopold had examined the child anew and had made 
an unexpected contribution towards the decision. For there 
was a difference of character between the two similar to that 
between Inspector Brassig and his friend Charles. The one 
was distinguished for his brightness, the other was slow, 
thoughtful, but thorough. If I contrast Otto and the careful 
Leopold in the dream, I do it, apparently, in order to extol 



METHOD OF INTERPRETATION 95 

Leopold. It is a comparison similar to the one above between 
the disobedient patient Irma and her friend who is thought to 
be more sensible. I now become aware of one of the tracks 
along which the thought association of the dream progresses ; 
from the sick child to the children's asylum. The dulness to 
the left, below, recalls a certain case corresponding to it, in 
every detail in which Leopold astonished me by his thorough- 
ness. Besides this, I have a notion of something like a metastatic 
affection, but it might rather be a reference to the lady patient 
whom I should like to have instead of Irma. For this lady, as 
far as I can gather, resembles a woman suffering from tuber- 
culosis. 

An infiltrated portion of shin on the left shoulder. 

I see at once that this is my own rheumatism of the shoulder, 
which I always feel when I have remained awake until late at 
night. The turn of phrase in the dream also sounds ambiguous ; 
something which I feel ... in spite of the dress. " Feel on 
my own body " is intended. Moreover, I am struck with the 
unusual sound of the term " infiltrated portion of skin." " An 
infiltration behind on the upper left " is what we are accus- 
tomed to ; this would refer to the lung, and thus again to 
tuberculosis patients. 

In spite of the dress. 

This, to be sure, is only an interpolation. We, of course, 
examine the children in the clinic undressed ; it is some sort 
of contradiction to the manner in which grown-up female 
patients must be examined. The story used to be told of a 
prominent clinician that he always examined his patients 
physically only through the clothes. The rest is obscure to 
me ; I have, frankly, no inclination to follow the matter 
further. 

Dr. M. says : "It is an infection, but it does not matter. 
Dysentery will develop, and the poison will be excreted. 

This at first seems ridiculous to me ; still it must be care- 
fully analysed like everything else. Observed more closely, 
it seems, however, to have a kind of meaning. What I had 
found in the patient was local diphtheritis. I remember the 
discussion about diphtheritis and diphtheria at the time of 
my daughter's illness. The latter is the general infection 
which proceeds from local diphtheritis. Leopold proves the 



96 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

existence of such general infection by means of the dulness, 
which thus suggests a metastatic lesion. I believe, however, 
that just this kind of metastasis does not occur in the case of 
diphtheria. It rather recalls pyaemia. 

It does not matter, is a consolation. I believe it fits in as 
follows : The last part of the dream has yielded a content to 
the effect that the pains of the patient are the result of a serious 
organic affection. I begin to suspect that with this I am only 
trying to shift the blame from myself. Psychic treatment 
cannot be held responsible for the continued presence of 
diphtheritic affection. But now, in turn, I am disturbed at 
inventing such serious suffering for Irma for the sole purpose 
of exculpating myself. It seems cruel. I need (accordingly) 
the assurance that the result will be happy, and it does not 
seem ill-advised that I should put the words of consolation 
into the mouth of Dr. M. But here I consider myself superior 
to the dream, a fact which needs explanation. 

But why is this consolation so nonsensical ? 

Dysentery : 

Some sort of far-fetched theoretical notion that pathological 
material may ■ be removed through the intestines. Am I in 
this way trying to make fun of Dr. M.'s great store of far- 
fetched explanations, his habit of finding curious pathological 
relationships ? Dysentery suggests something else. A few 
months ago I had in charge a young man suffering from re- 
markable pains during evacuation of the bowels, a case which 
colleagues had treated as " anaemia with malnutrition." I 
realised that it was a question of hysteria ; I was unwilling 
to use my psychotherapy on him, and sent him off on a sea 
voyage. Now a few days before I had received a despairing 
letter from him from Egypt, saying that while there he had 
suffered a new attack, which the physician had declared to be 
dysentery. I suspect, indeed, that the diagnosis was only an 
error of my ignorant colleague, who allows hysteria to make a 
fool of him ; but still I cannot avoid reproaching myself for 
putting the invalid in a position where he might contract an 
organic affection of the bowels in addition to his hysteria. 
Furthermore, dysentery sounds like diphtheria, a word which 
docs not occur in the dream. 

Indeed it must be that, with the consoling prognosis : 



METHOD OF INTERPRETATION 97 

"Dysentery will develop, &c," I am making fun of Dr. M., 
for I recollect that years ago he once jokingly told a very similar 
story of another colleague. He had been called to consult 
with this colleague in the case of a woman who was very 
seriously ill and had felt obliged to confront the other phy- 
sician, who seemed very hopeful, with the fact that he found 
albumen in the patient's urine. The colleague, however, did 
not let this worry him, but answered calmly : " That does not 
matter, doctor ; the albumen will without doubt be excreted." 
Thus I can no longer doubt that derision for those colleagues 
who are ignorant of hysteria is contained in this part of the 
dream. As though in confirmation, this question now arises 
in my mind : " Does Dr. M. know that the symptoms of his 
patient, of our friend Irma, which give cause for fearing 
tuberculosis, are also based on hysteria ? Has he recognised 
this hysteria, or has he stupidly ignored it ? " 

But what can be my motive in treating this friend so badly ? 
This is very simple : Dr. M. agrees with my solution as little 
as Irma herself. I have thus already in this dream taken 
revenge on two persons, on Irma in the words, " If you still 
have pains, it is your own fault," and on Dr. M. in the wording 
of the nonsensical consolation which has been put into his 
mouth. 

We have immediate knowledge of the origin of the infection. 

This immediate knowledge in the dream is very remarkable. 
Just before we did not know it, since the infection was first 
demonstrated by Leopold. 

My friend Otto has recently given her an injection when she 
felt ill. 

Otto had actually related that in the short time of his visit 
to Irma's family, he had been called to a neighbouring hotel 
in order to give an injection to some one who fell suddenly ill. 
Injections again recall the unfortunate friend who has poisoned 
himself with cocaine. I had recommended the remedy to 
him merely for internal use during the withdrawal of morphine, 
but he once gave himself injections of cocaine. 

With a propyl preparation . . . propyls . . . propionic acid. 
How did this ever occur to me ? On the same evening on 
which I had written part of the history of the disease before 
having the dream, my wife opened a bottle of cordial labelled 

G 



98 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

" Ananas," * (which was a present from our friend Otto. 
For he had a habit of making presents on every possible 
occasion ; I hope he will some day be cured of this by a wife).f 
Such a smell of fusel oil arose from this cordial that I refused 
to taste it. My wife observed : " We will give this bottle to 
the servants," and I, still more prudent, forbade it, with the 
philanthropic remark : " They mustn't be poisoned either." The 
smell of fusel oil (amyl . . .) has now apparently awakened 
in my memory the whole series, propyl, methyl, &c, which has 
furnished the propyl preparation of the dream. In this, it is 
true, I have employed a substitution ; I have dreamt of 
propyl, after smelling amyl, but substitutions of this kind are 
perhaps permissible, especially in organic chemistry. 

Trimethylamin. I see the chemical formula of this substance 
in the dream, a fact which probably gives evidence of a great 
effort on the part of my memory, and, moreover, the formula is 
printed in heavy type, as if to lay special stress upon something 
of particular importance, as distinguished from the context. To 
what does this trimethylamin lead, which has been so forcibly 
called to my attention ? It leads to a conversation with 
another friend who for years has known all my germinating 
activities, as I have his. At that time he had just informed 
me of some of his ideas about sexual chemistry, and had 
mentioned, among others, that he thought he recognised in tri- 
methylamin one of the products of sexual metabolism. This 
substance thus leads me to sexuality, to that factor which I 
credit with the greatest significance for the origin of the nervous 
affections which I attempt to cure. My patient Irma is a 
young widow ; if I am anxious to excuse the failure of her 
cure, I suppose I shall best do so by referring to this condition, 
which her admirers would be glad to change. How remarkably, 
too, such a dream is fashioned ! The other woman, whom I 
take as my patient in the dream instead of Irma, is also a 
young widow. 

I suspect why the formula of trimethylamin has made 

* " Ananas," moreover, has a remarkable assonance to the family name of 
my patient Irma. 

t In this the dream did not tiirn out to be prophetic. But in another 
sense, it proved correct, for the " unsolved " stomach pains, for which I did 
not want to be to blame, were the forerunners of a serious illness caused by 
gall stones. 



METHOD OF INTERPRETATION 99 

itself so prominent in the dream. So many important things 
are gathered up in this one word : Trimethylamin is not only 
an allusion to the overpowering factor of sexuality, but also 
to a person whose sympathy I remember with satisfaction when 
I feel myself forsaken in my opinions. Should not this friend, 
who plays such a large part in my life, occur again in the chain 
of thoughts of the dream ? Of course, he must ; he is par- 
ticularly acquainted with the results which proceed from 
affections of the nose and its adjacent cavities, and has re- 
vealed to science several highly remarkable relations of the 
turbinated bones to the female sexual organs (the three 
curly formations in Irma's throat). I have had Irma examined 
by him to see whether the pains in her stomach might be 
of nasal origin. But he himself suffers from suppurative 
rhinitis, which worries him, and to this perhaps there is an 
allusion in pyaemia, which hovers before me in the metastases 
of the dream. 

Such injections are not made so rashly. Here the reproach of 
carelessness is hurled directly at my friend Otto. I am under 
the impression that I had some thought of this sort in the 
afternoon, when he seemed to indicate his siding against 
me by word and look. It was perhaps : " How easily he 
can be influenced ; how carelessly he pronounces judgment." 
Furthermore, the above sentence again points to my deceased 
friend, who so lightly took refuge in cocaine injections. As 
I have said, I had not intended injections of the remedy at 
all. I see that in reproaching Otto I again touch upon the 
story of the unfortunate Matilda, from which arises the same 
reproach against me. Obviously I am here collecting examples 
of my own conscientiousness, but also of the opposite. 

Probably also the syringe was not clean. Another reproach 
directed at Otto, but originating elsewhere. The day before I 
happened to meet the son of a lady eighty-two years of age 
whom I am obliged to give daily two injections of morphine. 
At present she is in the country, and I have heard that she is 
suffering from an inflammation of the veins. I immediately 
thought that it was a case of infection due to contamination 
from the syringe. It is my pride that in two years I have not 
given her a single infection ; I am constantly concerned, of 
course, to see that the syringe is perfectly clean. For I am 



100 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

conscientious. From the inflammation of the veins, I return 
to my wife, who had suffered from emboli during a period of 
pregnancy, and now three related situations come to the 
surface in my memory, involving my wife, Irma, and the 
deceased Matilda, the identity of which three persons plainly 
justifies my putting them in one another's place. 

I have now completed the interpretation of the dream.* 
In the course of this interpretation I have taken great pains 
to get possession of all the notions to which a comparison 
between the dream content and the dream thoughts hidden 
behind it must have given rise. Meanwhile, the " meaning " 
of the dream has dawned upon me. I have become conscious 
of a purpose which is realised by means of the dream, and which 
must have been the motive for dreaming. The dream fulfils 
several wishes, which have been actuated in me by the events 
of the preceding evening (Otto's news, and the writing down of 
the history of the disease). For the result of the dream is 
that I am not to blame for the suffering which Irma still has, 
and that Otto is to blame for it. Now Otto has made me angry 
by his remark about Irma's imperfect cure ; the dream avenges 
me upon him by turning the reproach back upon himself. 
The dream acquits me of responsibility for Irma's condition 
by referring it to other causes, which indeed furnish a great 
number of explanations. The dream represents a certain 
condition of affairs as I should wish it to be ; the content of the 
dream is thus the fulfilment of a wish ; its motive is a wish. 

This much is apparent at first sight. But many things in 
the details of the dream become intelligible when regarded from 
the point of view of wish-fulfilment. I take revenge on Otto, 
not only for hastily taking part against me, in that I accuse 
him of a careless medical operation (the injection), but I am 
also avenged on him for the bad cordial which smells like fusel 
oil, and I find an expression in the dream which unites both 
reproaches ; the injection with a preparation of propyl. Still 
I am not satisfied, but continue my revenge by comparing 
him to his more reliable competitor. I seem to say by this : 
" I like him better than you." But Otto is not the only one 
who must feel the force of my anger. I take revenge on the 

* Even if I have not, as may be understood, given account of everything 
which occurred to me in connection with the work of interpretation. 



METHOD OF INTERPRETATION 101 

disobedient patient by exchanging her for a more sensible, 
more docile one. Nor do I leave the contradiction of Dr. M. 
unnoticed, but express my opinion of him in an obvious 
allusion, to the effect that his relation to the question is that of 
an ignoramus (" dysentery will develop" &c). 

It seems to me, indeed, as though I were appealing from him 
to some one better informed (my friend, who has told me about 
trimethylamin) ; just as I have turned from Irma to her 
friend, I turn from Otto to Leopold. Rid me of these three 
persons, replace them by three others of my own choice, and 
I shall be released from the reproaches which I do not wish 
to have deserved ! The unreasonableness itself of these re- 
proaches is proved to me in the dream in the most elaborate 
way. Irma's pains are not charged to me, because she herself 
is to blame for them, in that she refuses to accept my solution. 
Irma's pains are none of my business, for they are of an 
organic nature, quite impossible to be healed by a psychic 
cure. Irma's sufferings are satisfactorily explained by her 
widowhood (trimethylamin !) ; a fact which, of course, I 
cannot alter. Irma's illness has been caused by an incautious 
injection on the part of Otto, with an ill-suited substance — 
in a way I should never have made an injection. Irma's 
suffering is the result of an injection made with an unclean 
syringe, just like the inflammation of the veins in my old 
lady, while I never do any such mischief with my injections. 
I am aware, indeed, that these explanations of Irma's illness, 
which unite in acquitting me, do not agree with one another ; 
they even exclude one another. The whole pleading — this 
dream is nothing else — recalls vividly the defensive argument 
of a man who was accused by his neighbour of having returned 
a kettle to him in a damaged condition. In the first place, 
he said, he had returned the kettle undamaged ; in the second, 
it already had holes in it when he borrowed it ; and thirdly, he 
had never borrowed the kettle from his neighbour at all. But 
so much the better ; if even one of these three methods of 
defence is recognised as valid, the man must be acquitted. 

Still other subjects mingle in the dream, whose relation 
to my release from responsibility for Irma's illness is not so 
transparent : the illness of my daughter and that of a patient 
of the same name, the harmfulness of cocaine, the illness of 



102 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

my patient travelling in Egypt, concern about the health of 
my wife, my brother, of Dr. M., my own bodily troubles, and 
concern about the absent friend who is suffering from sup- 
purative rhinitis. But if I keep all these things in view, they 
combine into a single train of thought, labelled perhaps : 
Concern for the health of myself and others — professional con- 
scientiousness. I recall an undefined disagreeable sensation 
as Otto brought me the news of Irma's condition. I should 
like to note finally the expression of this fleeting sensation, 
which is part of the train of thought that is mingled into the 
dream. It is as though Otto had said to me : " You do not 
take your physician's duties seriously enough, you are not 
conscientious, do not keep your promises." Thereupon this 
train of thought placed itself at my service in order that I 
might exhibit proof of the high degree in which I am con- 
scientious, how intimately I am concerned with the health 
of my relatives, friends, and patients. Curiously enough, there 
are also in this thought material some painful memories, which 
correspond rather to the blame attributed to Otto than to 
the accusation against me. The material has the appearance 
of being impartial, but the connection between this broader 
material, upon which the dream depends, and the more limited 
theme of the dream which gives rise to the wish to be innocent 
of Irma's illness, is nevertheless unmistakable. 

I do not wish to claim that I have revealed the meaning 
of the dream entirely, or that the interpretation is flawless. 

I could still spend much time upon it ; I could draw further 
explanations from it, and bring up new problems which it 
bids us consider. I even know the points from which further 
thought associations might be traced ; but such considerations 
as are connected with every dream of one's own restrain me 
from the work of interpretation. Whoever is ready to con- 
demn such reserve, may himself try to be more straightforward 
than I. I am content with the discovery which has been just 
made. If the method of dream interpretation here indicated 
is followed, it will be found that the -dream really has meaning, 
and is by no means the expression of fragmentary brain 
activity, which the authors would have us believe. When the 
work of interpretation has been completed the dream may be 
recognised as the fulfilment of a wish. 



Ill 

THE DREAM IS THE FULFILMENT OF A WISH 

When after passing a defile one has reached an eminence 
where the ways part and where the view opens out broadly 
in different directions, it is permissible to stop for a moment 
and to consider where one is to turn next. Something like 
this happens to us after we have mastered this first dream 
interpretation. We find ourselves in the open light of a sudden 
cognition. The dream is not comparable to the irregular 
sounds of a musical instrument, which, instead of being touched 
by the hand of the musician, is struck by some outside force ; 
the dream is not senseless, not absurd, does not presuppose 
that a part of our store of ideas is dormant while another part 
begins to awaken. It is a psychic phenomenon of full value, 
and indeed the fulfilment of a wish ; it takes its place in the 
concatenation of the waking psychic actions which are intelli- 
gible to us, and it has been built up by a highly complicated 
intellectual activity. But at the very moment when we are 
inclined to rejoice in this discovery, a crowd of questions over- 
whelms us. If the dream, according to the interpretation, 
represents a wish fulfilled, what is the cause of the peculiar 
and unfamiliar manner in which this fulfilment is expressed ? 
What changes have occurred in the dream thoughts before they 
are transformed into the manifest dream which we remember 
upon awaking ? In what manner has this transformation 
taken place ? Whence comes the material which has been 
worked over into the dream ? What causes the peculiarities 
which we observe in the dream thoughts, for example, that 
they may contradict one another ? (The analogy of the kettle, 
p. 87). Is the dream capable of teaching us something new 
about our inner psychic processes, and can its content correct 
opinions which we have held during the day ? I suggest 
that for the present all these questions be laid aside, and that 
a single path be pursued. We have found that the dream 

103 



104 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

represents a wish as fulfilled. It will be our next interest to 
ascertain whether this is a universal characteristic of the 
dream, or only the accidental content of the dream (" of Irma's 
injection ") with which we have begun our analysis, for even 
if we make up our minds that every dream has a meaning and 
psychic value, we must nevertheless allow for the possibility 
that this meaning is not the same in every dream. The first 
dream we have considered was the fulfilment of a wish ; another 
may turn out to be a realised apprehension ; a third may have 
a reflection as to its content ; a fourth may simply reproduce 
a reminiscence. Are there then other wish dreams ; or are 
there possibly nothing but wish dreams ? 

It is easy to show that the character of wish-fulfilment in 
dreams is often undisguised and recognisable, so that one 
may wonder why the language of dreams has not long since 
been understood. There is, for example, a dream which I 
can cause as often as I like, as it were experimentally. If in 
the evening I eat anchovies, olives, or other strongly salted 
foods, I become thirsty at night, whereupon I waken. The 
awakening, however, is preceded by a dream, which each time 
has the same content, namely, that I am drinking. I quaff 
water in long draughts, it tastes as sweet as only a cool drink 
can taste when one's throat is parched, and then I awake 
and have an actual desire to drink. The occasion for this 
dream is thirst, which I perceive when I awake. The wish 
to drink originates from this sensation, and the dream shows 
me this wish as fulfilled. It thereby serves a function the 
nature of which I soon guess. I sleep well, and am not accus- 
tomed to be awakened by a bodily need. If I succeed in 
assuaging my thirst by means of the dream that I am drinking, 
I need not wake up in order to satisfy it. It is thus a dream 
of convenience. The dream substitutes itself for action, as 
elsewhere in life. Unfortunately the need of water for quench- 
ing thirst cannot be satisfied with a dream, like my thirst for 
revenge upon Otto and Dr. M., but the intention is the same. 
This same dream recently appeared in modified form. On 
this occasion I became thirsty before going to bed, and emptied 
the glass of water which stood on the little chest next to my 
bed. Several hours later in the night came a new attack of 
thirst, accompanied by discomfort. In order to obtain water, 



THE FULFILMENT OF A WISH 105 

I should have had to get up and fetch the glass which stood on 
the night-chest of my wife. I thus quite appropriately dreamt 
that my wife was giving me a drink from a vase ; this vase 
was an Etruscan cinerary urn which I had brought home 
from an Italian journey and had since given away. But the 
water in it tasted so salty (apparently from the ashes) that 
I had to wake. It may be seen how conveniently the dream 
is capable of arranging matters ; since the fulfilment of a wish 
is its only purpose, it may be perfectly egotistic. Love of 
comfort is really not compatible with consideration for others. 
The introduction of the cinerary urn is probably again the 
fulfilment of a wish ; I am sorry that I no longer possess this 
vase ; it, like the glass of water at my wife's side, is inaccessible 
to me. The cinerary urn is also appropriate to the sensation 
of a salty taste which has now grown stronger, and which I 
know will force me to wake up.* 

Such convenience dreams were very frequent with me in 
the years of my youth. Accustomed as I had always been to 
work until late at night, early awakening was always a matter 
of difficulty for me. I used then to dream that I was out of 
bed and was standing at the wash-stand. After a while I 
could not make myself admit that I have not yet got up, but 
meanwhile I had slept for a time. I am acquainted with the 
same dream of laziness as dreamt by a young colleague of 
mine, who seems to share my propensity for sleep. The 
lodging-house keeper with whom he was living in the neigh- 
bourhood of the hospital had strict orders to wake him on 
time every morning, but she certainly had a lot of trouble when 
she tried to carry out his orders. One morning sleep was 
particularly sweet. The woman called into the room : " Mr. 
Joe, get up ; you must go to the hospital." Whereupon the 

* The facts about dreams of thirst were known also to Weygandt, 75 who 
expresses himself about them (p. 11) as follows : "It is just the sensation of 
thirst which is most accurately registered of all ; it always causes a repre- 
sentation of thirst quenching. The manner in which the dream pictures the 
act of thirst quenching is manifold, and is especially apt to be formed accord- 
ing to a recent reminiscence. Here also a universal phenomenon is that 
disappointment in the slight efficacy of the supposed refreshments sets in 
immediately after the idea that thirst has been quenched." But he over- 
looks the fact that the reaction of the dream to the stimulus is universal. 
If other persons who are troubled by thirst at night awake without dreaming 
beforehand, this does not constitute an objection to my experiment, but 
characterises those others as persons who sleep poorly. 



106 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

sleeper dreamt of a room in the hospital, a bed in which he 
was lying, and a chart pinned over his head reading : " Joe 
H. . . . cand. med. 22 years old." He said to himself in the 
dream : " If I am already at the hospital, I don't have to 
go there," turned over and slept on. He had thus frankly 
admitted to himself his motive for dreaming. 

Here is another dream, the stimulus for which acts during 
sleep itself : One of my women patients, who had had to 
undergo an unsuccessful operation on the jaw, was to wear a 
cooling apparatus on the affected cheek, according to the 
orders of the physicians. But she was in the habit of throwing 
it off as soon as she had got to sleep. One day I was asked 
to reprove her for doing so ; for she had again thrown the 
apparatus on the floor. The patient defended herself as 
follows : " This time I really couldn't help it ; it was the 
result of a dream which I had in the night. In the dream, I 
was in a box at the opera and was taking a lively interest in 
the performance. But Mr. Karl Meyer was lying in the sana- 
torium and complaining pitifully on account of pains in his 
jaw. I said to myself, ' Since I haven't the pains, I don't 
need the apparatus either,' that's why I threw it away." 
This dream of the poor sufferer is similar to the idea in the 
expression which comes to our lips when we are in a disagree- 
able situation : " I know something that's a great deal more 
fun." The dream presents this great deal more fun. Mr. Karl 
Meyer, to whom the dreamer attributed her pains, was the 
most indifferent young man of her acquaintance whom she 
could recall. 

It is no more difficult to discover the fulfilment of wishes 
in several dreams which I have collected from healthy persons. 
A friend who knew my theory of dreams and had imparted it 
to his wife, said to me one day : " My wife asked me to tell 
you that she dreamt yesterday that she was having her menses. 
You will know what that means." Of course I know : if the 
young wife dreams that she is having her menses, the menses 
have stopped. I can understand that she would have liked 
to enjoy her freedom for a time longer before the discomforts 
of motherhood began. It was a clever way of giving notice 
of her first pregnancy. Another friend writes that his wife 
had recently dreamt that she noticed milk stains on the bosom of 



THE FULFILMENT OF A WISH 107 

her waist. This is also an indication of pregnancy, but this time 
not of the first one ; the young mother wishes to have more 
nourishment for the second child than she had for the first. 

A young woman, who for weeks had been cut off from 
company because she was nursing a child that was suffering 
from an infectious disease, dreams, after its safe termination, 
of a company of people in which A. Daudet, Bourget, M. 
Prevost, and others are present, all of whom are very pleasant 
to her and entertain her admirably. The different authors 
in the dream also have the features which their pictures give 
them. M. Prevost, with whose picture she is not familiar, 
looks like — the disinfecting man who on the previous day 
had cleaned the sick rooms and had entered them as the first 
visitor after a long period. Apparently the dream might be 
perfectly translated thus : "It is about time now for something 
more entertaining than this eternal nursing." 

Perhaps this selection will suffice to prove that often and 
under the most complex conditions dreams are found which 
can be understood only as fulfilments of wishes, and which 
present their contents without concealment. In most cases 
these are short and simple dreams, which stand in pleasant 
contrast to the confused and teeming dream compositions 
which have mainly attracted the attention of the authors. 
But it will pay to spend some time upon these simple dreams. 
The most simple dreams of all, I suppose, are to be expected 
in the case of children, whose psychic activities are certainly 
less complicated than those of adults. The psychology of 
children, in my opinion, is to be called upon for services similar 
to those which a study of the anatomy and development of the 
lower animals renders to the investigation of the structure of 
the highest classes of animals. Until now only a few conscious 
efforts have been made to take advantage of the psychology 
of children for such a purpose. 

The dreams of little children are simple fulfilments of wishes, 
and as compared, therefore, with the dreams of adults, are 
not at all interesting. They present no problem to be solved, 
but are naturally invaluable as affording proof that the dream 
in its essence signifies the fulfilment of a wish. I have been 
able to collect several examples of such dreams from the 
material furnished by my own children. 



108 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

For two dreams, one of my daughters, at that time eight 
and a half years old, the other of a boy five and a quarter years 
of age, I am indebted to an excursion to the beautiful Hallstatt 
in the summer of 1896. I must make the preliminary statement 
that during this summer we were living on a hill near Aussee, 
from which, when the weather was good, we enjoyed a splendid 
view of the Dachstein from the roof of our house. The Simony 
Hut could easily be recognised with a telescope. The little 
ones often tried to see it through the telescope — I do not 
know with what success. Before the excursion I had told 
the children that Hallstatt lay at the foot of the Dachstein. 
They looked forward to the day with great joy. From Hall- 
statt we entered the valley of Eschern, which highly pleased 
the children with its varying aspects. One of them, however, 
the boy of five, gradually became discontented. As often as a 
mountain came in view, he would ask : "Is that the Dach- 
stein ? " whereupon I would have to answer : " No, only a 
foot-hill." After this question had been repeated several 
times, he became altogether silent ; and he was quite unwilling 
to come along on the flight of steps to the waterfall. I thought 
he was tired out. But the next morning, he approached me 
radiant with joy, and said : " Last night I dreamt that we were 
at Simony Hut." I understood him now ; he had expected, 
as I was speaking of the Dachstein, that on the excursion to 
Hallstatt, he would ascend the mountain and would come face 
to face with the hut, about which there had been so much 
discussion at the telescope. When he learned that he was 
expected to be regaled with foot-hills and a waterfall, he was 
disappointed and became discontented. The dream com- 
pensated him for this. I tried to learn some details of the 
dream ; they were scanty. " Steps must be climbed for six 
hours," as he had heard. 

On this excursion wishes, destined to be satisfied only in 
dreams, had arisen also in the mind of the girl of eight and a 
half years. We had taken with us to Halstatt the twelve- 
year-old boy of our neighbour — an accomplished cavalier, 
who, it seems to me, already enjoyed the full sympathy of the 
little woman. The next morning, then, she related the follow- 
ing dream : " Just think, I dreamt that Emil was one of us, 
that he said papa and mamma to you, and slept at our house 



THE FULFILMENT OF A WISH 109 

in the big room like our boys. Then mamma came into the 
room and threw a large handful of chocolate bars under our 
beds." The brothers of the girl, who evidently had not in- 
herited a familiarity with dream interpretation, declared just 
like the authors : " That dream is nonsense." The girl 
defended at least a part of the dream, and it is worth while, 
from the point of view of the theory of neuroses, to know which 
part : " That about Emil belonging to us is nonsense, but that 
about the bars of chocolate is not." It was just this latter 
part that was obscure to me. For this mamma furnished me 
the explanation. On the way home from the railway station 
the children had stopped in front of a slot machine, and had 
desired exactly such chocolate bars wrapped in paper with a 
metallic lustre, as the machine, according to their experience, 
had for sale. But the mother had rightly thought that the day 
had brought enough wish-fulfilment, and had left this wish to be 
satisfied in dreams. This little scene had escaped me. I at 
once understood that portion of the dream which had been con- 
demned by my daughter. I had myself heard the well-behaved 
guest enjoining the children to wait until papa or mamma had 
come up. For the little one the dream made a lasting adoption 
based on this temporary relation of the boy to us. Her tender 
nature was as yet unacquainted with any form of being together 
except those mentioned in the dream, which are taken from her 
brothers. Why the chocolate bars were thrown under the bed 
could not, of course, be explained without questioning the child. 
From a friend I have learnt of a dream very similar to 
that of my boy. It concerned an eight-year-old girl. The 
father had undertaken a walk to Dornbach with the children, 
intending to visit the Rohrerhiitte, but turned back because 
it had grown too late, and promised the children to make up 
for their disappointment some other time. On the way back, 
they passed a sign which showed the way to the Hameau. 
The children now asked to be taken to that place also, but had 
to be content, for the same reason, with a postponement to 
another day. The next morning, the eight-year-old girl came 
to the father, satisfied, saying : " Papa, I dreamt last night 
that you were with us at the Rohrerhiitte and on the Hameau." 
Her impatience had thus in the dream anticipated the fulfil- 
ment of the promise made by her father. 



110 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

Another dream, which the picturesque beauty of the Aussee 
inspired in my daughter, at that time three and a quarter years 
old, is equally straightforward. The little one had crossed 
the lake for the first time, and the trip had passed too quickly 
for her. She did not want to leave the boat at the landing, 
and cried bitterly. The next morning she told us : " Last 
night I was sailing on the lake." Let us hope that the dura- 
tion of this dream ride was more satisfactory to her. 

My eldest boy, at that time eight years of age, was already 
dreaming of the realisation of his fancies. He had been riding 
in a chariot with Achilles, with Diomed as charioteer. He 
had, of course, on the previous day shown a lively interest 
in the Myths of Greece, which had been given to his elder 
sister. 

If it be granted that the talking of children in sleep likewise 
belongs to the category of dreaming, I may report the following 
as one of the most recent dreams in my collection. My youngest 
girl, at that time nineteen months old, had vomited one morn- 
ing, and had therefore been kept without food throughout 
the day. During the night which followed upon this day of 
hunger, she was heard to call excitedly in her sleep : " Anna 
Feud, strawberry, huckleberry, omelette, pap ! " She used her 
name in this way in order to express her idea of property ; 
the menu must have included about everything which would 
seem to her a desirable meal ; the fact that berries appeared 
in it twice was a demonstration against the domestic sanitary 
regulations, and was based on the circumstance, by no means 
overlooked by her, that the nurse ascribed her indisposition 
to an over-plentiful consumption of strawberries ; she thus 
in the dream took revenge for this opinion which was distaste- 
ful to her.* 

If we call childhood happy because it does not yet know 

sexual desire, we must not forget how abundant a source of 

disappointment and self-denial, and thus of dream stimulation, 

* The dream afterwards accomplished the same purpose in the case of 
the grandmother, who is older than the child by about seventy years, as it 
did in the case of the granddaughter. After she had been forced to go 
hungry for several days on account of the restlessness of her floating kidney, 
she dreamed, apparently with a transference into the happy time of her 
flowering maidenhood, that she had been "asked out," invited as a guest for 
both the important meals, and each time had been served with the most 
delicious morsels. 



THE FULFILMENT OF A WISH 111 

the other of the great life-impulses may become for it.* Here 
is a second example showing this. My nephew of twenty-two 
months had been given the task of congratulating me upon 
my birthday, and of handing me, as a present, a little basket of 
cherries, which at that time of the year were not yet in season. 
It seemed difficult for him, for he repeated again and again : 
" Cherries in it," and could not be induced to let the little 
basket go out of his hands. But he knew how to secure his 
compensation. He had, until now, been in the habit of telling 
his mother every morning that he had dreamt of the " white 
soldier," an officer of the guard in a white cloak, whom he 
had once admired on the street. On the day after the birthday, 
he awakened joyfully with the information which could have 
had its origin only in a dream : " He(r)man eat up all the 
cherries ! " f 

* A more searching investigation into the psychic life of the child 
teaches us, to be sure, that sexual motive powers in infantile forms, which 
have been too long overlooked, play a sufficiently great part in the psychic 
activity of the child. This raises some doubt as to the happiness of the 
child, as imagined later by the adults. Of. the author's " Three Contribu- 
tions to the Sexual Theory," translated by A. A. Brill, Journal of Nervous 
and Mental Diseases Publishing Company. 

t It should not be left unmentioned that children sometimes show com- 
plex and more obscure dreams, while, on the other hand, adults will often 
under certain conditions show dreams of an infantile character. How rich 
in unsuspected material the dreams of children of from four to five years 
might be is shown by examples in my " Analyse der Phobie eines fünfjähr- 
igen Knaben" (Jahrbuch, ed. by Bleuler & Freud, 1909), and in Jung's 
" Ueber Konflikte der kindlichen Seele " (ebda. ii. vol., 1910). On the other 
hand, it seems that dreams of an infantile type reappear especially often in 
adults if they are transferred to unusual conditions of life. Thus Otto 
Nordenskjold, in his book Antarctic (1904), writes as follows about the crew 
who passed the winter with him. " Very characteristic for the trend of our 
inmost thoughts were our dreams, which were never more vivid and 
numerous than at present. Even those of our comrades with whom dream- 
ing had formerly been an exception had long stories to tell in the morning 
when we exchanged our experiences in the world of phantasies. They all 
referred to that outer world which was now so far from us, but they often 
fitted into our present relations. An especially characteristic dream was the 
one in which one of our comrades believed himself back on the bench at 
school, where the task was assigned him of skinning miniature seals which 
were especially made for the purposes of instruction. Eating and drinking 
formed the central point around which most of our dreams were grouped. 
One of us, who was fond of going to big dinner parties at night, was exceed- 
ingly glad if he could report in the morning ' that he had had a dinner con- 
sisting of three courses.' Another dreamed of tobacco — of whole mountains 
of tobacco; still another dreamed of a ship approaching on the open sea 
under full sail. Still another dream deserves to be mentioned. The letter 
carrier brought the mail, and gave a long explanation of why he had had to 
wait so long for it ; he had delivered it at the wrong place, and only after 



112 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

What animals dream of I do not know. A proverb for 
which I am indebted to one of my readers claims to know, 
for it raises the question : " What does the goose dream of ? " 
the answer being : "Of maize ! " The whole theory that the 
dream is the fulfilment of a wish is contained in these sentences.* 

We now perceive that we should have reached our theory 
of the hidden meaning of the dream by the shortest road if 
we had merely consulted colloquial usage. The wisdom of 
proverbs, it is true, sometimes speaks contemptuously enough 
of the dream — it apparently tries to justify science in expressing 
the opinion that " Dreams are mere bubbles ; " but still for 
colloquial usage the dream is the gracious fulfiller of wishes. 
" I should never have fancied that in the wildest dream," 
exclaims one who finds his expectations surpassed in reality. 

great effort had been able to get it back. To be sure, we occupied ourselves 
in sleep with still more impossible things, but the lack of phantasy in 
almost all the dreams which I myself dreamed" or heard others relate was 
quite striking. It would surely have been of great psychological interest if 
all the dreams could have been noted. But one can readily understand how 
we longed for sleep. It alone could afford us everything that we all most 
ardently desired." 

* A Hungarian proverb referred to by Ferenczi 87 states more explicitly 
that " the pig dreams of acorns, the goose of maize." 



IV 

DISTORTION IN DREAMS 

If I make the assertion that wish fulfilment is the meaning of 
every dream, that, accordingly, there can be no dreams except 
wish dreams, I am sure at the outset to meet with the most 
emphatic contradiction. Objections will be made to this 
effect : " The fact that there are dreams which must be under- 
stood as fulfilments of wishes is not new, but, on the contrary, 
has long since been recognised by the authors. Cf. Radestock 54 
(pp. 137-138), Volkelt 72 (pp. 110-111), Tissie 68 (p. 70), M. 
Simon 63 (p. 42) on the hunger dreams of the imprisoned Baron 
Trenck), and the passage in Griesinger 31 (p. 11). The assump- 
tion that there can be nothing but dreams of wish fulfilment, 
however, is another of those unjustified generalisations by 
which you have been pleased to distinguish yourself of late. 
Indeed dreams which exhibit the most painful content, but 
not a trace of wish fulfilment, occur plentifully enough. The 
pessimistic philosopher, Edward von Hartman, perhaps 
stands furthest from the theory of wish fulfilment. He ex- 
presses himself in his Philosophy of the Unconscious, Part II. 
(stereotyped edition, p. 34), to the following effect : — 

" ' As regards the dream, all the troubles of waking life are 
transferred by it to the sleeping state ; only the one thing, 
which can in some measure reconcile a cultured person to 
fife-scientific and artistic enjoyment is not transferred. . . .' 
But even less discontented observers have laid emphasis on 
the fact that in dreams pain and disgust are more frequent 
than pleasure; so Scholz 59 (p. 39), Volkelt 72 (p. 80), and 
others. Indeed two ladies, Sarah Weed and Florence Hallam, 33 
have found from the elaboration of their dreams a mathe- 
matical expression for the preponderance of displeasure in 
dreams. They designate 58 per cent, of the dreams as dis- 
agreeable, and only 28*6 per cent, as positively pleasant. Besides 
those dreams which continue the painful sensations of life 

113 H 



114 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

during sleep, there are also dreams of fear, in which this most 
terrible of all disagreeable sensations tortures us until we 
awake, and it is with just these dreams of fear that children 
are so often persecuted (Cf. Debacker 17 concerning the Pavor 
Nocturnus), though it is in the case of children that you have 
found dreams of wishing undisguised." 

Indeed it is the anxiety dreams which seem to prevent a 
generalisation of the thesis that the dream is a wish-fulfilment, 
which we have established by means of the examples in the 
last section ; they seem even to brand this thesis as an ab- 
surdity. 

It is not difficult, however, to escape these apparently 
conclusive objections. Please observe that our doctrine does 
not rest upon an acceptance of the manifest dream content, 
but has reference to the thought content which is found to He 
behind the dream by the process of interpretation. Let us 
contrast the manifest and the latent dream content. It is true 
that there are dreams whose content is of the most painful 
nature. But has anyone ever tried to interpret these dreams, 
to disclose their latent thought content ? If not, the two 
objections are no longer valid against us ; there always remains 
the possibility that even painful and fearful dreams may be 
discovered to be wish fulfilments upon interpretation.* 

In scientific work it is often advantageous, when the solu- 
tion of one problem presents difficulties, to take up a second 
problem, just as it is easier to crack two nuts together instead 
of separately. Accordingly we are confronted not merely 
with the problem : How can painful and fearful dreams be 
the fulfilments of wishes ? but we may also, from our discussion 
so far, raise the question : Why do not the dreams which 
show an indifferent content, but turn out to be wish-fulfilments, 
show this meaning undisguised ? Take the fully reported 
dream of Irma's injection ; it is in no way painful in its nature, 
and can be recognised, upon interpretation, as a striking wish- 
fulfilment. Why, in the first place, is an interpretation 
necessary ? Why does not the dream say directly what it 
means ? As a matter of fact, even the dream of Irma's in- 

* It is quite incredible with what stubbornness readers and critics 
exclude this consideration, and leave unheeded the fundamental differentia- 
tion between the manifest and the latent dream content. 



DISTORTION IN DREAMS 115 

jection does not at first impress us as representing a wish of 
the dreamer as fulfilled. The reader will not have received 
this impression, and even I myself did not know it until I had 
undertaken the analysis. If we call this peculiarity of the 
dream of needing an explanation the fact of the distortion of 
dreams, then a second question arises : What is the origin 
of this disfigurement of dreams ? 

If one's first impressions on this subject were consulted, 
one might happen upon several possible solutions ; for example, 
that there is an inability during sleep to find an adequate 
expression for the dream thoughts. The analysis of certain 
dreams, however, compels us to give the disfigurement of 
dreams another explanation. I shall show this by employing 
a second dream of my own, which again involves numerous 
indiscretions, but which compensates for this personal sacrifice 
by affording a thorough elucidation of the problem. 

Preliminary Statement. — In the spring of 1897 I learnt 
that two professors of our university had proposed me for 
appointment as Professor extraord. (assistant professor). 
This news reached me unexpectedly and pleased me con- 
siderably as an expression of appreciation on the part of two 
eminent men which could not be explained by personal in- 
terest. But, I immediately thought, I must not permit myself 
to attach any expectation to this event. The university 
government had during the last few years left proposals of 
this kind unconsidered, and several colleagues, who were 
ahead of me in years, and who were at least my equals in merit, 
had been waiting in vain during this time for their appoint- 
ment. I had no reason to suppose I should fare better. I 
resolved then to comfort myself. I am not, so far as I know, 
ambitious, and I engage in medical practice with satisfying 
results even without the recommendation of a title. Moreover, 
it was not a question whether I considered the grapes sweet or 
sour, for they undoubtedly hung much too high for me. 

One evening I was visited by a friend of mine, one of those 
colleagues whose fate I had taken as a warning for myself. 
As he had long been a candidate for promotion to the position 
of professor, which in our society raises the physician to a 
demigod among his patients, and as he was less resigned than 
I, he was in the habit of making representations from time to 



116 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

time, at the offices of the university government, for the pur- 
pose of advancing his interests. He came to me from a visit 
of that kind. He said that this time he had driven the exalted 
gentleman into a corner, and had asked him directly whether 
considerations of creed were not really responsible for the 
deferment of his appointment. The answer had been that 
to be sure — in the present state of public opinion — His Ex- 
cellency was not in a position, &c. " Now I at least know 
what I am at," said my friend in closing his narrative, which 
told me nothing new, but which was calculated to confirm me 
in my resignation. For the same considerations of creed 
applied to my own case. 

On the morning after this visit, I had the following dream, 
which was notable on account of its form. It consisted of 
two thoughts and two images, so that a thought and an image 
alternated. But I here record only the first half of the dream, 
because the other half has nothing to do with the purpose 
which the citation of the dream should serve. 

I. Friend R. is my uncle — I feel great affection for him. 

II. I see before me his face somewhat altered. 

It seems to be elongated ; a yellow beard, which surrounds it, 
is emphasised with peculiar distinctness. 

Then follow the other two portions, again a thought and 
an image, which I omit. 

The interpretation of this dream was accomplished in the 
following manner : 

As the dream occurred to me in the course of the forenoon, 
I laughed outright and said : " The dream is nonsense." 
But I could not get it out of my mind, and the whole day it 
pursued me, until, at last, in the evening I reproached myself 
with the words : " If in the course of dream interpretation 
one of your patients had nothing better to say than ' That is 
nonsense,' you would reprove him, and would suspect that 
behind the dream there was hidden some disagreeable affair, 
the exposure of which he wanted to spare himself. Apply 
the same thing in your own case ; your opinion that the 
dream is nonsense probably signifies merely an inner resistance 
to its interpretation. Do not let yourself be deterred." I 
then proceeded to the interpretation. 

" R. is my uncle." What does that mean. I have had 



DISTORTION IN DREAMS 117 

only one uncle, my uncle Joseph.* His story, to be sure, was 
a sad one. He had yielded to the temptation, more than 
thirty years before, of engaging in dealings which the law 
punishes severely, and which on that occasion also it had 
visited with punishment. My father, who thereupon became 
grey from grief in a few days, always used to say that Uncle 
Joseph was never a wicked man, but that he was indeed a 
simpleton ; so he expressed himself. If, then, friend R. is 
my uncle Joseph, that is equivalent to saying : " R. is a 
simpleton." Hardly credible and very unpleasant ! But there 
is that face which I see in the dream, with its long features 
and its yellow beard. My uncle actually had such a face — 
long and surrounded by a handsome blond beard. My friend 
R. was quite dark, but when dark-haired persons begin to 
grow grey, they pay for the glory of their youthful years. 
Their black beard undergoes an unpleasant change of color, 
each hair separately ; first it becomes reddish brown, then 
yellowish brown, and then at last definitely grey. The beard 
of my friend R. is now in this stage, as is my own moreover, a 
fact which I notice with regret. The face which I see in the 
dream is at once that of my friend R. and that of my uncle. 
It is like a composite photograph of Galton, who, in order 
to emphasise family resemblances, had several faces, photo- 
graphed on the same plate. No doubt is thus possible, I 
am really of the opinion that my friend R. is a simpleton — 
like my uncle Joseph. 

I have still no idea for what purpose I have constructed 
this relationship, to which I must unconditionally object. But it 
is not a very far-reaching one, for my uncle was a criminal, 
my friend R. is innocent — perhaps with the exception of 
having been punished for knocking down an apprentice with 
his bicycle. Could I mean this offence ? That would be 
making ridiculous comparisons. Here I recollect another 
conversation which I had with another colleague, N., and 
indeed upon the same subject. I met N. on the street. He 
likewise has been nominated for a professorship, and having 

* It is remarkable how my memory narrows here for the purposes of 
analysis — while I am awake. I have known five of my uncles, and have 
loved and honoured one of them. But at the moment when I overcame my 
resistance to the interpretation of the dream I said to myself, " I have only 
one uncle, the one who is intended in the dream." 



118 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

heard of my being honoured, congratulated me upon it. I 
declined emphatically, saying, " You are the last man to make 
a joke like this, because you have experienced what the nomi- 
nation is worth in your own case." Thereupon he said, though 
probably not in earnest, " You cannot be sure about that. 
Against me there is a very particular objection. Don't you 
know that a woman once entered a legal complaint against 
me ? I need not assure you that an inquiry was made ; it 
was a mean attempt at blackmail, and it was all I could do 
to save the plaintiff herself from punishment. But perhaps 
the affair will be pressed against me at the office in order that 
I may not be appointed. You, however, are above reproach." 
Here I have come upon a criminal, and at the same time upon 
the interpretation and trend of the dream. My uncle Joseph 
represents for me both colleagues who have not been appointed 
to the professorship, the one as a simpleton, the other as a 
criminal. I also know now for what purpose I need this re- 
presentation. If considerations of creed are a determining 
factor in the postponement of the appointment of my friends, 
then my own appointment is also put in question : but if I 
can refer the rejection of the two friends to other causes, which 
do not apply to my case, my hope remains undisturbed. This 
is the procedure of my dream ; it makes the one, R., a 
simpleton, the other, N., a criminal ; since, however, I am 
neither the one nor the other, our community of interest is 
destroyed, I have a right to enjoy the expectation of being 
appointed a professor, and have escaped the painful applica- 
tion to my own case of the information which the high official 
has given to R. 

I must occupy myself still further with the interpretation 
of this dream. For my feelings it is not yet sufficiently cleared 
up. I am still disquieted by the ease with which I degrade 
two respected colleagues for the purpose of clearing the way 
to the professorship for myself. My dissatisfaction with 
my procedure has indeed diminished since I have learnt to 
evaluate statements made in dreams. I would argue against 
anyone who urged that I really consider R. a simpleton, and 
that I do not credit N.'s account of the blackmail affair. I 
do not believe either that Irma has been made seriously ill by 
an injection given her by Otto with a preparation of propyl. 



DISTORTION IN DREAMS 119 

Here, as before, it is only the wish that the case may be as the 
dream expresses it. The statement in which my wish is realised 
sounds less absurd in the second dream than in the first ; it is 
made here with a more skilful utilisation of facts as points of 
attachment, something like a well-constructed slander, where 
" there is something in it." For my friend R. had at that 
time the vote of a professor from the department against him, 
and my friend N. had himself unsuspectingly furnished me 
with the material for slander. Nevertheless, I repeat, the 
dream seems to me to require further elucidation. 

I remember now that the dream contains still another 
portion which so far our interpretation has not taken into 
account. After it occurs to me that my friend R. is my uncle, 
I feel great affection for him. To whom does this feeling 
belong ? For my uncle Joseph, of course, I have never had 
any feelings of affection. For years my friend R. has been 
beloved and dear to me ; but if I were to go to him and ex- 
press my feelings for him in terms which came anywhere near 
corresponding to the degree of affection in the dream, he 
would doubtless be surprised. My affection for him seems 
untrue and exaggerated, something like my opinion of his 
psychic qualities, which I express by fusing his personality 
with that of my uncle ; but it is exaggerated in an opposite 
sense. But now a new state of affairs becomes evident to me. 
The affection in the dream does not belong to the hidden 
content, to the thoughts behind the dream ; it stands in 
opposition to this content ; it is calculated to hide the informa- 
tion which interpretation may bring. Probably this is its 
very purpose. I recall with what resistance I applied myself 
to the work of interpretation, how long I tried to postpone it, 
and how I declared the dream to be sheer nonsense. I know 
from my psychoanalytical treatments how such condemna- 
tion is to be interpreted. It has no value as affording in- 
formation, but only as the registration of an affect. If my 
little daughter does not like an apple which is offered her, she 
asserts that the apple has a bitter taste, without even having 
tasted it. If my patients act like the little girl, I know that 
it is a question of a notion which they want to suppress. The 
same applies to my dream. I do not want to interpret it 
because it contains something to which I object. After the 



120 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

interpretation of the dream has been completed, I find out 
what it was I objected to ; it was the assertion that R. is a 
simpleton. I may refer the affection which I feel for R. not 
to the hidden dream thoughts, but rather to this unwillingness 
of mine. If my dream as compared with its hidden content 
is disfigured at this point, and is disfigured, moreover, into 
something opposite, then the apparent affection in the dream 
serves the purpose of disfigurement ; or, in other words, the 
disfigurement is here shown to be intended : it is a means of 
dissimulation. My dream thoughts contain an unfavourable 
reference to R. ; in order that I may not become aware of it, 
its opposite, a feeling of affection for him, makes its way into 
the dream. 

The fact here recognised might be of universal applica- 
bility. As the examples in Section III. have shown, there are 
dreams which are undisguised wish-fulfilments. Wherever 
a wish-fulfilment is unrecognisable and concealed, there must 
be present a feeling of repulsion towards this wish, and in 
consequence of this repulsion the wish is unable to gain ex- 
pression except in a disfigured state. I shall try to find a case 
in social life which is parallel to this occurrence in the inner 
psychic life. Where in social life can a similar disfigurement 
of a psychic act be found ? Only where two persons are in 
question, one of whom possesses a certain power, while the 
other must have a certain consideration for this power. This 
second person will then disfigure his psychic actions, or, as 
we may say, he will dissimulate. The politeness which I 
practise every day is largely dissimulation of this kind. If I 
interpret my dreams for the benefit of the reader I am forced 
to make such distortions. The poet also complains about such 
disfigurement : 

" You may not tell the best that you know to the youngsters." 

The political writer who has unpleasant truths to tell to 
the government finds himself in the same position. If he 
tells them without reserve, the government will suppress 
them — subsequently in case of a verbal expression of opinion, 
preventatively, if they are to be published in print. The 
writer must fear censure ; he therefore modifies and disfigures 
the expression of his opinion. He finds himself compelled, 



DISTORTION IN DREAMS 121 

according to the sensitiveness of . this censure, either to re- 
strain himself from certain particular forms of attack or to 
speak in allusion instead of direct designations. Or he must 
disguise his objectionable statement in a garb that seems 
harmless. He may, for instance, tell of an occurrence between 
two mandarins in the Orient, while he has the officials of his 
own country in view. The stricter the domination of the 
censor, the more extensive becomes the disguise, and often 
the more humorous the means employed to put the reader 
back on the track of the real meaning. 

The correspondence between the phenomena of the censor 
and those of dream distortion, which may be traced in detail, 
justifies us in assuming similar conditions for both. We 
should then assume in each human being, as the primary 
cause of dream formation, two psychic forces (streams, systems), 
of which one constitutes the wish expressed by the dream, 
while the other acts as a censor upon this dream wish, and by 
means of this censoring forces a distortion of its expression. 
The only question is as to the basis of the authority of this 
second instance * by virtue of which it may exercise its censor- 
ship. If we remember that the hidden dream thoughts are 
not conscious before analysis, but that the apparent dream 
content is remembered as conscious, we easily reach the 
assumption that admittance to consciousness is the privilege 
of the second instance. Nothing can reach consciousness 
from the first system which has not first passed the second 
instance, and the second instance lets nothing pass without 
exercising its rights and forcing such alterations upon the 
candidate for admission to consciousness as are pleasant to 
itself. We are here forming a very definite conception of the 
" essence " of consciousness ; for us the state of becoming 
conscious is a particular psychic act, different from and 
independent of becoming fixed or of being conceived, and 
consciousness appears to us as an organ of sense, which per- 
ceives a content presented from another source. It may be 
shown that psychopathology cannot possibly dispense with 
these fundamental assumptions. We may reserve a more 
thorough examination of these for a later time. 

* The word is here used in the original Latin sense instantia, meaning 
energy, continuance or persistence in doing. (Translator.) 



122 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

If I keep in mind the idea of the two psychic instances and 
their relations to consciousness, I find in the sphere of politics 
a very exact analogy for the extraordinary affection which I 
feel for my friend R., who suffers such degradation in the 
course of the dream interpretation. I turn my attention to 
a political state in which a ruler, jealous of his rights, and a 
live public opinion are in conflict with each other. The people 
are indignant against an official whom they hate, and demand 
his dismissal ; and in order not to show that he is compelled 
to respect the public wish, the autocrat will expressly confer 
upon the official some great honour, for which there would 
otherwise have been no occasion. Thus the second instance 
referred to, which controls access to consciousness, honours 
my friend R. with a profusion of extraordinary tenderness, 
because the wish activities of the first system, in accordance 
with a particular interest which they happen to be pursuing, 
are inclined to put him down as a simpleton.* 

Perhaps we shall now begin to suspect that dream inter- 
pretation is capable of giving us hints about the structure 
of our psychic apparatus which we have thus far expected in 
vain from philosophy. We shall not, however, follow this 
track, but return to our original problem as soon as we have 
cleared up the subject of dream-disfigurement. The question 
has arisen how dreams with disagreeable content can be 
analysed as the fulfilments of wishes. We see now that this 
is possible in case dream-disfigurement has taken place, in 
case the disagreeable content serves only as a disguise for 
what is wished. Keeping in mind our assumptions in regard 
to the two psychic instances, we may now proceed to say : 
disagreeable dreams, as a matter of fact, contain something 

* Such hypocritical dreams are not unusual occurrences with me or 
with others. While I am working up a certain scientific problem, I am 
visited for many nights in rapid succession by a somewhat confusing dream 
which has as its content reconciliation with a friend long ago dropped. After 
three or four attempts, I finally succeeded in grasping the meaning of this 
dream. It was in the nature of an encouragement to ^ive up the little con- 
sideration still left for the person in question, to drop him completely, but it 
disguised itself shamefacedly in the opposite feeling. I have reported a 
"hypocritical oedipus dream" of a person, in which the hostile feelings and 
the wishes of death of the dream thoughts were replaced by manifest tender- 
ness. (" Typisches Beispiel eines verkappten Oedipustraumes," Zentralblatt 
für Psychoanalyse, Bd. 1, Heft 1-11, 1910.) Another class of hypocritical 
dreams will be reported in another place. 



DISTORTION IN DREAMS 123 

which is disagreeable to the second instance, but which at 
the same time fulfils a wish of the first instance. They are 
wish dreams in the sense that every dream originates in the 
first instance, while the second instance acts towards the 
dream only in a repelling, not in a creative manner. If we 
limit ourselves to a consideration of what the second instance 
contributes to the dream, we can never understand the dream. 
If we do so, all the riddles which the authors have found in the 
dream remain unsolved. 

That the dream actually has a secret meaning, which turns 
out to be the fulfilment of a wish, must be proved afresh for 
every case by means of an analysis. I therefore select several 
dreams which have painful contents and attempt an analysis 
of them. They are partly dreams of hysterical subjects, 
which require long preliminary statements, and now and then 
also an examination of the psychic processes which occur in 
hysteria. I cannot, however, avoid this added difficulty in 
the exposition. 

When I give a psychoneurotic patient analytical treatment, 
dreams are always, as I have said, the subject of our dis- 
cussion. It must, therefore, give him all the psychological 
explanations through whose aid I myself have come to an 
understanding of his symptoms, and here I undergo an un- 
sparing criticism, which is perhaps not less keen than that I 
must expect from my colleagues. Contradiction of the thesis 
that all dreams are the fulfilments of wishes is raised by my 
patients with perfect regularity. Here are several examples of 
the dream material which is offered me to refute this position. 

" You always tell me that the dream is a wish fulfilled," 
begins a clever lady patient. " Now I shall tell you a dream 
in which the content is quite the opposite, in which a wish of 
mine is not fulfilled. How do you reconcile that with your 
theory ? The dream is as follows : — 

" / want to give a supper, but having nothing at hand except 
some smoked salmon, I think of going marketing, but I remember 
that it is Sunday afternoon, when all the shops are closed. I 
next try to telephone to some caterers, but the telephone is out of 
order. Thus I must resign my wish to give a supper." 

I answer, of course, that only the analysis can decide the 
meaning of this dream, although I admit that at first sight 



124 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

it seems sensible and coherent, and looks like the opposite of 
a wish-fulfilment. " But what occurrence has given rise to 
this dream ? " I ask. " You know that the stimulus for a 
dream always lies among the experiences of the preceding 
day." 

Analysis. — The husband of the patient, an upright and 
conscientious wholesale butcher, had told her the day before 
that he is growing too fat, and that he must, therefore, begin 
treatment for obesity. He was going to get up early, take 
exercise, keep to a strict diet, and above all accept no more 
invitations to suppers. She proceeds laughingly to relate 
how her husband at an inn table had made the acquaintance 
of an artist, who insisted upon painting his portrait because 
he, the painter, had never found such an expressive head. 
But her husband had answered in his rough way, that he was 
very thankful for the honour, but that he was quite convinced 
that a portion of the backside of a pretty young girl would 
please the artist better than his whole face.* She said that 
she was at the time very much in love with her husband, and 
teased him a good deal. She had also asked him not to send 
her any caviare. What does that mean ? 

As a matter of fact, she had wanted for a long time to eat 
a caviare sandwich every forenoon, but had grudged herself 
the expense. Of course, she would at once get the caviare 
from her husband, as soon as she asked him for it. But she 
had begged him, on the contrary, not to send her the caviare, 
in order that she might tease him about it longer. 

This explanation seems far-fetched to me. Unadmitted 
motives are in the habit of hiding behind such unsatisfactory 
explanations. We are reminded of subjects hypnotised by 
Bernheim, who carried out a posthypnotic order, and who, upon 
being asked for their motives, instead of answering : "I do 
not know why I did that," had to invent a reason that was 
obviously inadequate. Something similar is probably the 
case with the caviare of my patient. I see that she is com- 
pelled to create an unfulfilled wish in life. Her dream also 
shows the reproduction of the wish as accomplished. But why 
does she need an unfulfilled wish ? 

* To sit for the painter. Goethe : " And if he has no backside, how can 
the nobleman sit ? " 



DISTORTION IN DREAMS 125 

The ideas so far produced are insufficient for the inter- 
pretation of the dream. I beg for more. After a short pause, 
which corresponds to the overcoming of a resistance, she 
reports further that the day before she had made a visit to a 
friend, of whom she is really jealous, because her husband is 
always praising this woman so much. Fortunately, this 
friend is very lean and thin, and her husband likes well-rounded 
figures. Now of what did this lean friend speak ? Naturally 
of her wish to become somewhat stouter. She also asked my 
patient : " When are you going to invite us again ? You 
always have such a good table." 

Now the meaning of the dream is clear. I may say to the 
patient : " It is just as though you had thought at the time 
of the request : ' Of course, I'll invite you, so you can eat 
yourself fat at my house and become still more pleasing to 
my husband. I would rather give no more suppers.' The 
dream then tells you that you cannot give a supper, thereby 
fulfilling your wish not to contribute anything to the rounding 
out of your friend's figure. The resolution of your husband 
to refuse invitations to supper for the sake of getting thin 
teaches you that one grows fat on the things served in com- 
pany." Now only some conversation is necessary to confirm 
the solution. The smoked salmon in the dream has not yet 
been traced. " How did the salmon mentioned in the dream 
occur to you ? " " Smoked salmon is the favourite dish of 
this friend," she answered. I happen to know the lady, and 
may corroborate this by saying that she grudges herself the 
salmon just as much as my patient grudges herself the caviare. 

The dream admits of still another and more exact inter- 
pretation, which is necessitated only by a subordinate circum- 
stance. The two interpretations do not contradict one 
another, but rather cover each other and furnish a neat 
example of the usual ambiguity of dreams as well as of all 
other psychopathological formations. We have seen that at 
the same time that she dreams of the denial of the wish, the 
patient is in reality occupied in securing an unfulfilled wish 
(the caviare sandwiches). Her friend, too, had expressed a 
wish, namely, to get fatter, and it would not surprise us if 
our lady had dreamt that the wish of the friend was not being 
fulfilled. For it is her own wish that a wish of her friend's — 



126 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

for increase in weight — should not be fulfilled. Instead of 
this, however, she dreams that one of her own wishes is not 
fulfilled. The dream becomes capable of a new interpretation, 
if in the dream she does not intend herself, but her friend, if 
she has put herself in the place of her friend, or, as we may 
say, has identified herself with her friend. 

I think she has actually done this, and as a sign of this 
identification she has created an unfulfilled wish in reality. 
But what is the meaning of this hysterical identification ? 
To clear this up a thorough exposition is necessary. Identi- 
fication is a highly important factor in the mechanism of 
hysterical symptoms ; by this means patients are enabled 
in their symptoms to represent not merely their own experi- 
ences, but the experiences of a great number of other persons, 
and can suffer, as it were, for a whole mass of people, and fill 
all the parts of a drama by means of their own personalities 
alone. It will here be objected that this is well-known 
hysterical imitation, the ability of hysteric subjects to copy all 
the symptoms which impress them when they occur in others, 
as though their pity were stimulated to the point of repro- 
duction. But this only indicates the way in which the psychic 
process is discharged in hysterical imitation ; the way in which 
a psychic act proceeds and the act itself are two different 
things. The latter is slightly more complicated than one is 
apt to imagine the imitation of hysterical subjects to be : it 
corresponds to an unconscious concluded process, as an 
example will show. The physician who has a female patient 
with a particular kind of twitching, lodged in the company of 
other patients in the same room of the hospital, is not surprised 
when some morning he learns that this peculiar hysterical attack 
has found imitations. He simply says to himself : The others 
have seen her and have done likewise : that is psychic infection. 
Yes, but psychic infection proceeds in somewhat the following 
manner : As a rule, patients know more about one another 
than the physician knows about each of them, and they are 
concerned about each other when the visit of the doctor is 
over. Some of them have an attack to-day : soon it is known 
among the rest that a letter from home, a return of love- 
sickness or the like, is the cause of it. Their sympathy is aroused, 
and the following syllogism, which does not reach conscious- 



DISTORTION IN DREAMS 127 

ness, is completed in them : " If it is possible to have this kind 
of an attack from such causes, I too may have this kind of an 
attack, for I have the same reasons." If this were a cycle 
capable of becoming conscious, it would perhaps express 
itself in fear of getting the same attack ; but it takes place 
in another psychic sphere, and, therefore, ends in the realisa- 
tion of the dreaded symptom. Identification is therefore 
not a simple imitation, but a sympathy based upon the same 
etiological claim ; it expresses an " as though," and refers to 
some common quality which has remained in the unconscious. 

Identification is most often used in hysteria to express 
sexual community. An hysterical woman identifies herself 
most readily — although not exclusively — with persons with 
whom she has had sexual relations, or who have sexual inter- 
course with the same persons as herself. Language takes 
such a conception into consideration : two lovers are "one." 
In the hysterical phantasy, as well as in the dream, it is suffi- 
cient for the identification if one thinks of sexual relations, 
whether or not they become real. The patient, then, only 
follows the rules of the hysterical thought processes when she 
gives expression to her jealousy of her friend (which, moreover, 
she herself admits to be unjustified, in that she puts herself in 
her place and identifies herself with her by creating a symptom 
— the denied wish). I might further clarify the process speci- 
fically as follows : She puts herself in the place of her friend 
in the dream, because her friend has taken her own place in 
relation to her husband, and because she would like to take 
her friend's place in the esteem of her husband.* 

The contradiction to my theory of dreams in the case of 
another female patient, the most witty among all my dreamers, 
was solved in a simpler manner, although according to the 
scheme that the non-fulfilment of one wish signifies the fulfil- 
ment of another. I had one day explained to her that the 
dream is a wish-fulfilment. The next day she brought me a 
dream to the effect that she was travelling with her mother-in- 

* I myself regret the introduction of such passages from the psycho- 
pathology of hysteria, which, because of their fragmentary representation 
and of being torn from all connection with the subject, cannot have a very 
enlightening influence. If these passages are capable of throwing light upon 
the intimate relations between the dream and the psychoneuroses, they have 
served the purpose for which I have taken them up. 



128 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

law to their common summer resort. Now I knew that she 
had struggled violently against spending the summer in the 
neighbourhood of her mother-in-law. I also knew that she had 
luckily avoided her mother-in-law by renting an estate in a 
far-distant country resort. Now the dream reversed this 
wished-for solution ; was not this in the flattest contradiction 
to my theory of wish -fulfilment in the dream ? Certainly, it 
was only necessary to draw the inferences from this dream in 
order to get at its interpretation. According to this dream, I 
was in the wrong. It was thus her wish that I should be in the 
wrong, and this wish the dream showed her as fulfilled. But the 
wish that I should be in the wrong, which was fulfilled in the 
theme of the country home, referred to a more serious matter. 
At that time I had made up my mind, from the material 
furnished by her analysis, that something of significance for her 
illness must have occurred at a certain time in her life. She 
had denied it because it was not present in her memory. We 
soon came to see that I was in the right. Her wish that I 
should be in the wrong, which is transformed into the dream, thus 
corresponded to the justifiable wish that those things, which at 
the time had only been suspected, had never occurred at all. 

Without an analysis, and merely by means of an assumption, 
I took the liberty of interpreting a little occurrence in the case 
of a friend, who had been my colleague through the eight 
classes of the Gymnasium. He once heard a lecture of mine 
delivered to a small assemblage, on the novel subject of the 
dream as the fulfilment of a wish. He went home, dreamt 
that he had lost all his suits — he was a lawyer — and then com- 
plained to me about it. I took refuge in the evasion : " One 
can't win all one's suits," but I thought to myself : " If for 
eight years I sat as Primus on the first bench, while he moved 
around somewhere in the middle of the class, may he not 
naturally have had a wish from his boyhood days that I, too, 
might for once completely disgrace myself ? " 

In the same way another dream of a more gloomy character 
was offered me by a female patient as a contradiction to my 
theory of the wish-dream. The patient, a young girl, began 
as follows : " You remember that my sister has now only one 
boy, Charles : she lost the elder one, Otto, while I was still at 
her house. Otto was my favourite ; it was I who really 



DISTORTION IN DREAMS 129 

brought him up. I like the other little fellow, too, but of 
course not nearly as much as the dead one. Now I dreamt 
last night that / saw Charles lying dead before me. He was 
lying in his little coffin, his hands folded : there were candles 
all about, and, in short, it was just like the time of little Otto's 
death, which shocked me so profoundly. Now tell me, what 
does this mean ? You know me : am I really bad enough to 
wish my sister to lose the only child she has left ? Or does the 
dream mean that I wish Charles to be dead rather than Otto, 
whom I like so much better ? " 

I assured her that this interpretation was impossible. 
After some reflection I was able to give her the interpretation 
of the dream, which I subsequently made her confirm. 

Having become an orphan at an early age, the girl had 
been brought up in the house of a much older sister, and had 
met among the friends and visitors who came to the house, a 
man who made a lasting impression upon her heart. It 
looked for a time as though these barely expressed relations 
were to end in marriage, but this happy culmination was 
frustrated by the sister, whose motives have never found a 
complete explanation. After the break, the man who was 
loved by our patient avoided the house : she herself became 
independent some time after little Otto's death, to whom her 
affection had now turned. But she did not succeed in freeing 
herself from the inclination for her sister's friend in which 
she had become involved. Her pride commanded her to 
avoid him ; but it was impossible for her to transfer her love 
to the other suitors who presented themselves in order. 
Whenever the man whom she loved, who was a member of 
the literary profession, announced a lecture anywhere, she 
was sure to be found in the audience ; she also seized every 
other opportunity to see him from a distance unobserved by 
him. I remembered that on the day before she had told me 
that the Professor was going to a certain concert, and that 
she was also going there, in order to enjoy the sight of him. 
This was on the day of the dream ; and the concert was to 
take place on the day on which she told me the dream. I 
could now easily see the correct interpretation, and I asked 
her whether she could think of any event which had happened 
after the death of little Otto. She answered immediately : 



130 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

" Certainly ; at that time the Professor returned after a long 
absence, and I saw him once more beside the coffin of little 
Otto." It was exactly as I had expected. I interpreted 
the dream in the following manner : If now the other boy 
were to die, the same thing would be repeated. You would 
spend the day with your sister, the Professor would surely 
come in order to offer condolence, and you would see him again 
under the same circumstances as at that time. The dream 
signifies nothing but this wish of yours to see him again, 
against which you are fighting inwardly. I know that you 
are carrying the ticket for to-day's concert in your bag. Your 
dream is a dream of impatience ; it has anticipated the 
meeting which is to take place to-day by several hours." 

In order to disguise her wish she had obviously selected a 
situation in which wishes of that sort are commonly sup- 
pressed — a situation which is so filled with sorrow that love is 
not thought of. And yet, it is very easily probable that even 
in the actual situation at the bier of the second, more dearly 
loved boy, which the dream copied faithfully, she had not 
been able to suppress her feelings of affection for the visitor 
whom she had missed for so long a time. 

A different explanation was found in the case of a similar 
dream of another female patient, who was distinguished in her 
earlier years by her quick wit and her cheerful demeanour, 
and who still showed these qualities at least in the notions 
which occurred to her in the course of treatment. In con- 
nection with a longer dream, it seemed to this lady that she 
saw her fifteen-year-old daughter lying dead before her in a 
box. She was strongly inclined to convert this dream-image 
into an objection to the theory of wish-fulfilment, but herself 
suspected that the detail of the box must lead to a different 
conception of the dream.* In the course of the analysis it 
occurred to her that on the evening before, the conversation 
of the company had turned upon the English word " box," 
and upon the numerous translations of it into German, such 
as box, theatre box, chest, box on the ear, &c. From other 
components of the same dream it is now possible to add that 
the lady had guessed the relationship between the English 
word " box " and the German Büchse, and had then been 
* Something like the smoked salmon in the dream of the deferred supper. 



DISTORTION IN DREAMS 131 

haunted by the memory that Büchse (as well as " box ") is 

used in vulgar speech to designate the female genital organ. 

It was therefore possible, making a certain allowance for her 

notions on the subject of topographical anatomy, to assume 

that the child in the box signified a child in the womb of the 

mother. At this stage of the explanation she no longer denied 

that the picture of the dream really corresponded to one of 

her wishes. Like so many other young women, she was by 

no means happy when she became pregnant, and admitted to 

me more than once the wish that her child might die before its 

birth ; in a fit of anger following a violent scene with her 

husband she had even struck her abdomen with her fists in 

order to hit the child within. The dead child was, therefore, 

really the fulfilment of a wish, but a wish which had been 

put aside for fifteen years, and it is not surprising that the 

fulfilment of the wish was no longer recognised after so long 

an interval. For there had been many changes meanwhile. 

The group of dreams to which the two last mentioned 

belong, having as content the death of beloved relatives, will 

be considered again under the head of " Typical Dreams." I 

shall there be able to show by new examples that in spite of 

their undesirable content, all these dreams must be interpreted 

as wish-fulfilments. For the following dream, which again 

was told me in order to deter me from a hasty generalisation of 

the theory of wishing in dreams, I am indebted, not to a 

patient, but to an intelligent jurist of my acquaintance. " I 

dream," my informant tells me, " that I am luallcing in front 

of my house with a lady on my arm. Here a closed luagon is 

waiting, a gentleman steps up to me, gives his authority as an 

agent of the police, and demands that I should follow him. I 

only ask for time in which to arrange my affairs. Can you 

possibly suppose this is a wish of mine to be arrested ? " 

" Of course not," I must admit. " Do you happen to know 

upon what charge you were arrested ? " " Yes ; I believe for 

infanticide." " Infanticide ? But you know that only a 

mother can commit this crime upon her newly born child ? " 

" That is true." * " And under what circumstances did you 

* It often happens that a dream is told incompletely, and that a recollec- 
tion of the omitted portions appears only in the course of the analysis. 
These portions subsequently fitted in, regularly furnish the key to the 
interpretation. Cf. below, about forgetting in dreams. 



132 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

dream ; what happened on the evening before ? " "I would 
rather not tell you that ; it is a delicate matter." " But I 
must have it, otherwise we must forgo the interpretation of 
the dream." " Well, then, I will tell you. I spent the night, 
not at home, but at the house of a lady who means very much 
to me. When we awoke in the morning, something again 
passed between us. Then I went to sleep again, and dreamt 
what I have told you." " The woman is married ? " " Yes." 
" And you do not wish her to conceive a child ? " " No ; that 
might betray us." " Then you do not practise normal 
coitus ? " "I take the precaution to withdraw before ejacu- 
lation." " Am I permitted to assume that you did this trick 
several times during the night, and that in the morning you 
were not quite sure whether you had succeeded ? " " That 
might be the case." " Then your dream is the fulfilment of 
a wish. By means of it you secure the assurance that you 
have not begotten a child, or, what amounts to the same thing, 
that you have killed a child. I can easily demonstrate the 
connecting links. Do you remember, a few days ago we were 
talking about the distress of matrimony (Ehenot), and about 
the inconsistency of permitting the practice of coitus as long 
as no impregnation takes place, while every delinquency after 
the ovum and the semen meet and a foetus is formed is 
punished as a crime ? In connection with this, we also re- 
called the mediaeval controversy about the moment of time at 
which the soul is really lodged in the foetus, since the concept 
of murder becomes admissible only from that point on. Doubt- 
less you also know the gruesome poem by Lenau, which puts 
infanticide and the prevention of children on the same plane." 
" Strangely enough, I had happened to think of Lenau during 
the afternoon." " Another echo of your dream. And now 
I shall demonstrate to you another subordinate wish-fulfilment 
in your dream. You walk in front of your house with the lady 
on your arm. So you take her home, instead of spending the 
night at her house, as you do in actuality. The fact that the 
wish-fulfilment, which is the essence of the dream, disguises 
itself in such an unpleasant form, has perhaps more than one 
reason. From my essay on the etiology of anxiety neuroses, 
you will see that I note interrupted coitus as one of the factors 
which cause the development of neurotic fear. It would be 



DISTORTION IN DREAMS 133 

consistent with this that if after repeated cohabitation of the 
kind mentioned you should be left in an uncomfortable mood, 
which now becomes an element in the composition of your 
dream. You also make use of this unpleasant state of mind to 
conceal the wish-fulfilment. Furthermore, the mention of 
infanticide has not yet been explained. Why does this crime, 
which is peculiar to females, occur to you ? " "I shall confess 
to you that I was involved in such an affair years ago. Through 
my fault a girl tried to protect herself from the consequences 
of a liaison with me by securing an abortion. I had nothing 
to do with carrying out the plan, but I was naturally for a 
long time worried lest the affair might be discovered." " I 
understand ; this recollection furnished a second reason why 
the supposition that you had done your trick badly must have 
been painful to you." 

A young physician, who had heard this dream of my 
colleague when it was told, must have felt implicated by it, 
for he hastened to imitate it in a dream of his own, applying 
its mode of thinking to another subject. The day before he 
had handed in a declaration of his income, which was perfectly 
honest, because he had little to declare. He dreamt that an 
acquaintance of his came from a meeting of the tax commission 
and informed him that all the other declarations of income 
had passed uncontested, but that his own had awakened 
general suspicion, and that he would be punished with a heavy 
fine. The dream is a poorly-concealed fulfilment of the wish 
to be known as a physician with a large income. It likewise 
recalls the story of the young girl who was advised against 
accepting her suitor because he was a man of quick temper 
who would surely treat her to blows after they were married. 
The answer of the girl was : "I wish he would strike me ! " 
Her wish to be married is so strong that she takes into the 
bargain the discomfort which is said to be connected with 
matrimony, and which is predicted for her, and even raises it 
to a wish. 

If I group the very frequently occurring dreams of this 
sort, which seem flatly to contradict my theory, in that they 
contain the denial of a wish or some occurrence decidedly 
unwished for, under the head of " counter wish-dreams," I 
observe that they may all be referred to two principles, of 



134 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

which one has not yet been mentioned, although it plays a 
large part in the dreams of human beings. One of the motives 
inspiring these dreams is the wish that I should appear in the 
wrong. These dreams regularly occur in the course of my 
treatment if the patient shows a resistance against me, and I 
can count with a large degree of certainty upon causing such 
a dream after I have once explained to the patient my theory 
that the dream is a wish-fulfilment.* I may even expect this 
to be the case in a dream merely in order to fulfil the wish 
that I may appear in the wrong. The last dream which I 
shall tell from those occurring in the course of treatment 
again shows this very thing. A young girl who has struggled 
hard to continue my treatment, against the will of her re- 
latives and the authorities whom she has consulted, dreams as 
follows : She is forbidden at home to come to me any more. She 
then reminds me of the promise I made her to treat her for nothing 
if necessary, and I say to her : "I can show no consideration in 
money matters" 

It is not at all easy in this case to demonstrate the fulfilment 
of a wish, but in all cases of this kind there is a second problem, 
the solution of which helps also to solve the first. Where 
does she get the words which she puts into my mouth ? Of 
course I have never told her anything like that, but one of 
her brothers, the very one who has the greatest influence over 
her, has been kind enough to make this remark about me. It 
is then the purpose of the dream that this brother should 
remain in the right ; and she does not try to justify this 
brother merely in the dream ; it is her purpose in life and the 
motive for her being ill. 

The other motive for counter wish-dreams is so clear that 
there is danger of overlooking it, as for some time happened in 
my own case. In the sexual make-up of many people there is 
a masochistic component, which has arisen through the con- 
version of the aggressive, sadistic component into its opposite. 
Such people are called " ideal " masochists, if they seek 
pleasure not in the bodily pain which may be inflicted upon 
them, but in humiliation and in chastisement of the soul. 

* Similar "counter wish-dreams" have been repeatedly reported to me 
within the last few years by my pupils who thus reacted to their first en- 
counter with the "wish theory of the dream." 



DISTORTION IN DREAMS 135 

It is obvious that such persons can have counter wish-dreams 
and disagreeable dreams, which, however, for them are nothing 
but wish-fulfilments, affording satisfaction for their masochistic 
inclinations. Here is such a dream. A young man, who has 
in earlier years tormented his elder brother, towards whom he 
was homosexually inclined, but who has undergone a complete 
change of character, has the following dream, which consists 
of three parts : (1) He is " insulted " by his brother. (2) Two 
adults are caressing each other with homosexual intentions. (3) 
Eis brother has sold the enterprise whose management the young 
man reserved for his own future. He awakens from the last- 
mentioned dream with the most unpleasant feelings, and yet 
it is a masochistic wish-dream, which might be translated : 
It would serve me quite right if my brother were to make that 
sale against my interest, as a punishment for all the torments 
which he has suffered at my hands. 

I hope that the above discussion and examples will suffice — 
until further objection can be raised — to make it seem credible 
that even dreams with a painful content are to be analysed 
as the fulfilments of wishes. Nor will it seem a matter of 
chance that in the course of interpretation one always happens 
upon subjects of which one does not like to speak or think. 
The disagreeable sensation which such dreams arouse is 
simply identical with the antipathy which endeavours — usually 
with success — to restrain us from the treatment or discussion 
of such subjects, and which must be overcome by all of us, if, in 
spite of its unpleasantness, we find it necessary to take the 
matter in hand. But this disagreeable sensation, which 
occurs also in dreams, does not preclude the existence of a 
wish ; everyone has wishes which he would not like to tell to 
others, which he does not want to admit even to himself. We 
are, on other grounds, justified in connecting the disagreeable 
character of all these dreams with the fact of dream disfigure- 
ment, and in concluding that these dreams are distorted, and 
that the wish-fulfilment in them is disguised until recognition 
is impossible for no other reason than that a repugnance, a 
will to suppress, exists in relation to the subject-matter of 
the dream or in relation to the wish which the dream creates. 
Dream disfigurement, then, turns out in reality to be an act 
of the censor. We shall take into consideration everything 



136 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

which the analysis of disagreeable dreams has brought to 
light if we reword our formula as follows : The dream is the 
(disguised) fulfilment of a (suppressed, repressed) wish* 

Now there still remain as a particular species of dreams 
with painful content, dreams of anxiety, the inclusion of 
which under dreams of wishing will find least acceptance with 
the uninitiated. But I can settle the problem of anxiety 
dreams in very short order ; for what they may reveal is not 
a new aspect of the dream problem ; it is a question in their 
case of understanding neurotic anxiety in general. The fear 
which we experience in the dream is only seemingly explained 
by the dream content. If we subject the content of the 
dream to analysis, we become aware that the dream fear is no 
more justified by the dream content than the fear in a phobia 
is justified by the idea upon which the phobia depends. For 
example, it is true that it is possible to fall out of a window, 
and that some care must be exercised when one is near a 
window, but it is inexplicable why the anxiety in the corre- 
sponding phobia is so great, and why it follows its victims to 
an extent so much greater than is warranted by its origin. 
The same explanation, then, which applies to the phobia 
applies also to the dream of anxiety. In both cases the 
anxiety is only superficially attached to the idea which accom- 
panies it and comes from another source. 

On account of the intimate relation of dream fear to neurotic 
fear, discussion of the former obliges me to refer to the latter. 
In a little essay on " The Anxiety Neurosis," f I maintained 
that neurotic fear has its origin in the sexual life, and corre- 
sponds to a libido which has been turned away from its object 
and has not succeeded in being applied. From this formula, 
which has since proved its validity more and more clearly, 
we may deduce the conclusion that the content of anxiety 
dreams is of a sexual nature, the libido belonging to which 

* We may mention here the simplification and modification of this 
fundamental formula, propounded by Otto Rank : " On the basis and with 
the help of repressed infantile sexual material, the dream regularly repre- 
sents as fulfilled actual, and as a rule also erotic, wishes, in a disguised and 
symbolic form." (" Ein Traum, der sich selbst deutet," Jahrbuch, v., Bleuler- 
Freud, II. B., p. 519, 1910.) 

f See Selected Papers on Hysteria and other Psychoneuroses, p. 133, trans- 
lated by A. A. Brill, Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, Monograph 
Series. 



DISTORTION IN DREAMS 137 

content has been transformed into fear. Later on I shall 
have opportunity to support this assertion by the analysis of 
several dreams of neurotics. I shall have occasion to revert 
to the determinations in anxiety dreams and their com- 
patibility with the theory of wish-fulfilment when I again 
attempt to approach the theory of dreams. 



THE MATERIAL AND SOURCES OF DREAMS 

After coming to realise from the analysis of the dream of 
Irma's injection that the dream is the fulfilment of a wish, 
our interest was next directed to ascertaining whether we had 
thus discovered a universal characteristic of the dream, and 
for the time being we put aside every other question which 
may have been aroused in the course of that interpretation. 
Now that we have reached the goal upon one of these paths, 
we may turn back and select a new starting-point for our 
excursions among the problems of the dream, even though we 
may lose sight for a time of the theme of wish-fulfilment, 
which has been as yet by no means exhaustively treated. 

Now that we are able, by applying our process of inter- 
pretation, to discover a latent dream content which far sur- 
passes the manifest dream content in point of significance, we 
are impelled to take up the individual dream problems afresh, 
in order to see whether the riddles and contradictions which 
seemed, when we had only the manifest content, beyond our 
reach may not be solved for us satisfactorily. 

The statements of the authors concerning the relation of 
the dream to waking life, as well as concerning the source of 
the dream material, have been given at length in the intro- 
ductory chapter. We may recall that there are three pecu- 
liarities of recollection in the dreams, which have been often 
remarked but never explained : 

1. That the dream distinctly prefers impressions of the 
few days preceding (Robert, 55 Strümpell, 66 Hildebrandt, 35 also 
Weed-Hallam 88 ). 

2. That it makes its selection according to principles other 
than those of our waking memory, in that it recalls not what 
is essential and important, but what is subordinate and dis- 
regarded (c/. p. 13). 

138 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 139 

3. That it has at its disposal the earliest impressions of 
our childhood, and brings to light details from this period of 
life which again seem trivial to us, and which in waking life 
were considered long ago forgotten.* 

These peculiarities in the selection of the dream material 
have of course been observed by the authors . in connection 
with the manifest dream content. 

(a) Recent and Indifferent Impressions in the Dream 

If I now consult my own experience concerning the source 
of the elements which appear in the dream, I must at once 
express the opinion that some reference to the experiences of 
the day which has most recently passed is to be found in every 
dream. Whatever dream I take up, whether my own or 
another's, this experience is always re-affirmed. Knowing 
this fact, I can usually begin the work of interpretation by 
trying to learn the experience of the previous day which has 
stimulated the dream ; for many cases, indeed, this is the 
quickest way. In the case of the two dreams which I have 
subjected to close analysis in the preceding chapter (of Irma's 
injection, and of my uncle with the yellow beard) the reference 
to the previous day is so obvious that it needs no further 
elucidation. But in order to show that this reference may be 
regularly demonstrated, I shall examine a portion of my own 
dream chronicle. I shall report the dreams only so far as is 
necessary for the discovery of the dream stimulus in question. 

1. I make a visit at a house where I am admitted only with 
difficulty, &c, and meanwhile I keep a woman waiting for me. 

Source. — A conversation in the evening with a female 
relative to the effect that she would have to wait for some aid 
which she demanded until, &c. 

2. I have written a monograph about a certain (obscure) 
species of plant. 

Source. — I have seen in the show-window of a book store a 
monograph upon the genus cyclamen. 

* It is clear that the conception of Robert, that the dream is intended to 
rid our memory of the useless impressions which it has received during the 
day, is no longer tenable, if indifferent memories of childhood appear in the 
dream with some degree of frequency. The conclusion would have to be 
drawn that the dream ordinarily performs very inadequately the duty which 
is prescribed for it. 



140 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

3. I see two women on the street, mother and daughter, the 
latter of whom is my patient. 

Source. — A female patient who is under treatment has told 
me what difficulties her mother puts in the way of her continu- 
ing the treatment. 

4. At the book store of S. and R. I subscribe to a periodical 
which costs 20 florins annually. 

Source. — During the day my wife has reminded me that I 
still owe her 20 florins of her weekly allowance. 

5. I receive a communication, in which I am treated as a 
member, from the Social Democratic Committee. 

Source. — I have received communications simultaneously from 
the Liberal Committee on Elections and from the president of 
the Humanitarian Society, of which I am really a member. 

6. A man on a steep rock in the middle of the ocean, after 
the manner of Boecklin. 

Source. — Dreyfus on DeviVs Island ; at the same time news 
from my relatives in England, &c. 

The question might be raised, whether the dream is in- 
variably connected with the events of the previous day, or 
whether the reference may be extended to impressions from a 
longer space of time in the immediate past. Probably this 
matter cannot claim primary importance, but I should like 
to decide in favour of the exclusive priority of the day before 
the dream (the dream-day). As often as I thought I had 
found a case where an impression of two or three days before 
had been the source of the dream, I could convince myself, 
after careful investigation, that this impression had been 
remembered the day before, that a demonstrable reproduction 
had been interpolated between the day of the event and the 
time of the dream, and, furthermore, I was able to point out the 
recent occasion upon which the recollection of the old im- 
pression might have occurred. On the other hand, I was 
unable to convince myself that a regular interval (H. Swoboda 
calls the first one of this kind eighteen hours) of biological 
significance occurs between the stimulating impression of the 
day and its repetition in the dream.* 

* As mentioned in the first chapter, p. 67, H. Swoboda applies broadly 
to the psychic activity, the biological intervals of twenty-three and twenty- 
ei^'ht days discovered by W. FlieflB, and lays especial emphasis upon the fact 
that these periods are determinant for the appearance of the dream elements 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 141 

I am, therefore, of the opinion that the stimulus for 
every dream is to be found among those experiences " upon 
which one has not yet slept " for a night. 

Thus the impressions of the immediate past (with the 
exception of the day before the night of the dream) stand in 
no different relation to the dream content from those of times 
which are as far removed in the past as you please. The dream 
may select its material from all times of life, provided only, 

in dreams. There would be no material change in dream interpretation if 
this could be proven, but it would result in a new source for the origin of 
the dream material. I have recently undertaken some examination of my 
own dreams in order to test the applicability of the " Period Theory" to the 
dream material, and I have selected for this purpose especially striking 
elements of the dream content, whose origin could be definitely ascertained : — 

I. — Dream from October 1-2, 1910 

(Fragment) . . . Somewhere in Italy. Three daughters show me small 
costly objects, as if in an antiquity shop. At the same time they sit down 
on my lap. Of one of the pieces I remark : "Why, you got this from me." 
I also see distinctly a small profile mask with the angular features of 
Savonarola. 

When have I last seen a picture of Savonarola ? According to my travel- 
ling diary, I was in Florence on the fourth and fifth of September, and while 
there thought of showing my travelling companion the plaster medallion of 
the features of the fanatical monk in the Piazza Signoria, the same place 
where he met his death by burning. I believe that I called his attention to 
it at 3 a.m. To be sure, from this impression, until its return in the dream, 
there was an interval of twenty-seven and one days — a " feminine period," 
according to Fliess. But, unfortunately for the demonstrative force of this 
example, I must add that on the very day of the dream I was visited (the 
first time after my return) by the able but melancholy-looking colleague 
whom I had already years before nicknamed " Eabbi Savonarola." He 
brought me a patient who had met with an accident on the Pottebba rail- 
road, on which I had myself travelled eight days before, and my thoughts 
were thus turned to my last Italian journey. The appearance in the dream 
content of the striking element of Savonarola is explained by the visit of 
my colleague on the day of the dream ; the twenty-eight day interval had no 
significance in its origin. 

II. — Dream from October 10-11 

I am again studying chemistry in the University laboratory. Court 
Councillor L. invites me to come to another place, and walks before me in 
the corridor carrying in front of him in his uplifted hand a lamp or some 
other instrument, and assuming a peculiar attitude, his head stretched for- 
ward. We then come to an open space . . . (rest forgotten). 

In this dream content, the most striking part is the manner in which 
Court Councillor L. carries the lamp (or lupe) in front of him, his gaze 
directed into the distance. I have not seen L. for many years, but I now 
know that he is only a substitute for another greater person — for Archimedes 
near the Arethusa fountain in Syracuse, who stands there exactly like L. 
in the dream, holding the burning mirror and gazing at the besieging army 



142 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

that a chain of thought starting from one of the experiences 
of the day of the dream (one of the " recent " impressions) 
reaches back to these earlier ones. 

But why this preference for recent impressions ? We shall 
reach some conjectures on this point if we subject one of the 
dreams already mentioned to a more exact analysis. I select 
the dream about the monograph. 

Content of the dream. — I have written a monograph upon a 

of the Romans. When had I first (and last) seen this monument ? Accord- 
ing to my notes, it was on the seventeenth day of September, in the evening, 
and from this date to the dream there really passed 13 and 10, equals 
23, days — according to Fliess, a " masculine period." 

But I regret to say that here, too, this connection seems somewhat less 
inevitable when we enter into the interpretation of this dream. The dream 
was occasioned by the information, received on the day of the dream, that 
the lecture-room in the clinic in which I was invited to deliver my lectures 
had been changed to some other place. I took it for granted that the new 
room was very inconveniently situated, and said to myself, it is as bad as not 
having any lecture-room at my disposal. My thoughts must have then 
taken me back to the time when I first became a docent, when I really had 
no lecture-room, and when, in my efforts to get one, I met with little en- 
couragement from the very influential gentlemen councillors and professors. 
In my distress at that time, I appealed to L., who then had the title of dean, 
and whom I considered kindly disposed. He promised to help me, but that 
was all I ever heard from him. In the dream he is the Archimedes, who 
gives me the Tr-qvTw and leads me into the other room. That neither the 
desire for revenge nor the consciousness of one's own importance is absent 
in this dream will be readily divined by those familiar with dream inter- 
pretation. I must conclude, however, that without this motive for the 
dream, Archimedes would hardly have got into the dream that night. I 
am not certain whether the strong and still recent impression of the statue 
in Syracuse did not also come to the surface at a different interval of time. 

III.— -Dream from October 2-3, 1910. 

(Fragment) . . . Something about Professor Oser, who himself prepared 
the menu for me, which served to restore me to great peace of mind (rest 
forgotten). 

The dream was a reaction to the digestive disturbances of this day, which 
made me consider asking one of my colleagues to arrange a diet for me. 
That in the dream I selected for this purpose Professor Oser, who had died 
in the summer, is based on the recent death (October 1) of another university 
teacher, whom I highly revered. But when did Oser die, and when did I 
hear of his death ? According to the newspaper notice, he died on the 
22nd of August, but as I was at the time in Holland, whither my Vienna 
newspapers were regularly sent nie, I must have read the obituary notice 
on the 24th or 25th of August. This interval no longer corresponds to any 
period. It takes in 7 and 30 and 2, eqimls 39, days, or perhaps 38 days. I 
cannot recall having spoken or thought of Oser during this interval. 

Such intervals as were not available for the "period theory" without 
further elaboration, were shown from my dreams to be far more frequent 
than the regular ones. As maintained in the text, the only thing constantly 
found is the relation to an impression of the day of the dream itself. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 143 

certain 'plant. The book lies before me, I am just turning over 
a folded coloured 'plate. A dried specimen of the plant is bound 
with every copy, as though from a herbarium. 

Analysis. — In the forenoon I saw in the show-window of a 
book store a book entitled, The Genus Cyclamen, apparently 
a monograph on this plant. 

The cyclamen is the favourite flower of my wife. I re- 
proach myself for so seldom thinking to bring her flowers, as 
she wishes. In connection with the theme " bringing flowers," 
I am reminded of a story which I recently told in a circle of 
friends to prove my assertion that forgetting is very often the 
purpose of the unconscious, and that in any case it warrants 
a conclusion as to the secret disposition of the person who 
forgets. A young woman who is accustomed to receive a 
bunch of flowers from her husband on her birthday, misses 
this token of affection on a festive occasion of this sort, and 
thereupon bursts into tears. The husband comes up, and 
is unable to account for her tears until she tells him, " To-day 
is my birthday." He strikes his forehead and cries, " Why, 
I had completely forgotten it," and wants to go out to get her 
some flowers. But she is not to be consoled, for she sees in 
the forgetfulness of her husband a proof that she does not 
play the same part in his thoughts as formerly. This Mrs. L. 
met my wife two days before, and told her that she was feeling 
well, and asked about me. She was under my treatment years 
ago. 

Supplementary facts : I once actually wrote something 
like a monograph on a plant, namely, an essay on the coca 
plant, which drew the attention of K. Koller to the anassthetic 
properties of cocaine. I had hinted at this use of the alkaloid 
in my publication, but I was not sufficiently thorough to 
pursue the matter further. This suggests that on the forenoon 
of the day after the dream (for the interpretation of which I 
did not find time until the evening) I had thought of cocaine 
in a kind of day phantasy. In case I should ever be afflicted 
with glaucoma, I was going to go to Berlin, and there have 
myself operated upon, incognito, at the house of my Berlin 
friend, by a physician whom he would recommend to me. The 
surgeon, who would not know upon whom he was operating, 
would boast as usual how easy these operations had become 



144 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

since the introduction of cocaine ; I would not betray by a 
single sign that I had had a share in making this discovery. 
With this phantasy were connected thoughts of how difficult 
it really is for a doctor to claim the medical services of a 
colleague for his own person. I should be able to pay the 
Berlin eye speciahst, who did not know me, like anyone else. 
Only after recalling this day-dream do I realise that the 
recollection of a definite experience is concealed behind it. 
Shortly after Roller's discovery my father had, in fact, become 
ill with glaucoma ; he was operated upon by my friend, the 
eye specialist, Dr. Koenigstein. Dr. Koller attended to the 
cocaine anaesthetisation, and thereupon made the remark 
that all three of the persons who had shared in the intro- 
duction of cocaine had been brought together on one case. 

I now proceed to think of the time when I was last re- 
minded of this affair about the cocaine. This was a few days 
before, when I received a Festschrift, with whose publication 
grateful scholars had commemorated the anniversary of their 
teacher and laboratory director. Among the honours 
ascribed to persons connected with the laboratory, I found a 
notice to the effect that the discovery of the anaesthetic pro- 
perties of cocaine had been made there by K. Koller. Now I 
suddenly become aware that the dream is connected with an 
experience of the previous evening. I had just accompanied 
Dr. Koenigstein to his home, and had spoken to him about a 
matter which strongly arouses my interest whenever it is 
mentioned. While I was talking with him in the vestibule, 
Professor Gärtner and his young wife came up. I could 
not refrain from congratulating them both upon their healthy 
appearance. Now Professor Gärtner is one of the authors 
of the Festschrift of which I have just spoken, and may well 
have recalled it to me. Likewise Mrs. L., whose birthday 
disappointment I have referred to, had been mentioned, in 
another connection, to be sure, in the conversation with Dr. 
Koenigstein. 

I shall now try to explain the other determinations of the 
dream content. A dried specimen of the plant accompanies 
the monograph as though it were a herbarium. A recollection 
of the gymnasium (school) is connected with the herbarium. 
The director of our gymnasium once called the scholars of the 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 145 

higher classes together in order to have them inspect and 
clean the herbarium. Small worms had been found — book- 
worms. The director did not seem to have much confidence 
in my help, for he left only a few leaves for me. I know to this 
day that there were crucifers on them. My interest in botany 
was never very great. At my preliminary examination in 
botany, I was required to identify a crucifer, and did not 
recognise it. I would have fared badly if my theoretical 
knowledge had not helped me out. Crucifers suggest com- 
posites. The artichoke is really a composite, and the one 
which I might call my favourite flower. My wife, who is 
more thoughtful than I, often brings this favourite flower of 
mine home from the market. 

I see the monograph which I have written lying before me. 
This, too, is not without its reference. The friend whom I 
pictured wrote to me yesterday from Berlin : "I think a 
great deal about your dream book, i" see it lying before me 
finished, and am turning over its leaves." How I envied him 
this prophetic power ! If I could only see it lying already 
finished before me ! 

The folded Coloured Plate. — While I was a student of medicine, 
I suffered much from a fondness for studying in monographs 
exclusively. In spite of my limited means, I subscribed to a 
number of the medical archives, in which the coloured plates 
gave me much delight. I was proud of this inclination for 
thoroughness. So, when I began to publish on my own account, 
I had to draw the plates for my own treatises, and I remember 
one of them turned out so badly that a kindly-disposed col- 
league ridiculed me for it. This suggests, I don't know exactly 
how, a very early memory from my youth. My father once 
thought it would be a joke to hand over a book with coloured 
plates (Description of a Journey in Persia) to me and my eldest 
sister for destruction. This was hardly to be justified from 
an educational point of view. I was at the time five years 
old, and my sister three, and the picture of our blissfully tearing 
this book to pieces (like an artichoke, I must add, leaf by leaf) 
is almost the only one from this time of life which has remained 
fresh in my memory. When I afterwards became a student, 
I developed a distinct fondness for collecting and possessing 
books (an analogy to the inclination for studying from mono- 

K 



146 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

graphs, a hobby which occurs in the dream thoughts with 
reference to cyclamen and artichoke). I became a book- worm 
(c/. herbarium). I have always referred this first passion of 
my life — since I am engaging in retrospect — to this childhood 
impression, or rather I have recognised in this childish scene 
a " concealing recollection " for my subsequent love of books.* 
Of course I also learned at an early age that our passions are 
often our sorrows. When I was seventeen years old I had a 
very respectable bill at the book store, and no means with 
which to pay it, and my father would hardly accept the excuse 
that my inclination had not been fixed on something worse. 
But the mention of this later youthful experience immediately 
brings me back to my conversation that evening with my 
friend Dr. Koenigstein. For the talk on the evening of the 
dream-day brought up the same old reproach that I am too 
fond of my hobbies. 

For reasons which do not belong here, I shall not continue 
the interpretation of this dream, but shall simply indicate the 
path which leads to it. In the course of the interpretation, 
I was reminded of my conversation with Dr. Koenigstein, and 
indeed of more than one portion of it. If I consider the 
subjects touched upon in this conversation, the meaning of 
the dream becomes clear to me. All the thought associations 
which have been started, about the hobbies of my wife and of 
myself, about the cocaine, about the difficulty of securing 
medical treatment from one's colleagues, my preference for 
monographic studies, and my neglect of certain subjects such 
as botany — all this continues and connects with some branch 
of this widely ramified conversation. The dream again takes 
on the character of a justification, of a pleading for my rights, 
like the first analysed dream of Irma's injection ; it even 
continues the theme which that dream started, and discusses 
it with the new subject matter which has accrued in the interval 
between the two dreams. Even the apparently indifferent 
manner of expression of the dream receives new importance. 
The meaning is now : "I am indeed the man who has written 
that valuable and successful treatise (on cocaine)," just as at 
that time I asserted for my justification : "I am a thorough 

* Cf. my essay, " Ueber Deckerinnerungen," in the Monatschrift für 
Psychiatrie und Neurologie, 1899. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 147 

and industrious student ; " in both cases, then : "I can afford 
to do that." But I may dispense with the further inter- 
pretation of the dream, because my only purpose in reporting 
it was to examine the relation of the dream content to the 
experience of the previous day which arouses it. As long as 
I know only the manifest content of this dream, but one 
relation to a day impression becomes obvious ; after I have 
made the interpretation, a second source of the dream becomes 
evident in another experience of the same day. The first of 
these impressions to which the dream refers is an indifferent 
one, a subordinate circumstance. I see a book in a shop 
window whose title holds me for a moment, and whose contents 
could hardly interest me. The second experience has great 
psychic value ; I have talked earnestly with my friend, the 
eye specialist, for about an hour, I have made allusions in 
this conversation which must have touched both of us closely, 
and which awakened memories revealing the most diverse 
feelings of my inner self. Furthermore, this conversation was 
broken off unfinished because some friends joined us. What, 
now, is the relation of these two impressions of the day to each 
other and to the dream which followed during the next night ? 

I find in the manifest content merely an allusion to the 
indifferent impression, and may thus reaffirm that the dream 
preferably takes up into its content non-essential experiences. 
In the dream interpretation, on the contrary, everything con- 
verges upon an important event which is justified in demanding 
attention. If I judge the dream in the only correct way, 
according to the latent content which is brought to light in 
the analysis, I have unawares come upon a new and important 
fact. I see the notion that the dream deals only with the 
worthless fragments of daily experience shattered ; I am 
compelled also to contradict the assertion that our waking 
psychic life is not continued in the dream, and that the dream 
instead wastes psychic activity upon a trifling subject matter. 
The opposite is true ; what has occupied our minds during the 
day also dominates our dream thoughts, and we take pains to 
dream only of such matters as have given us food for thought 
during the day. 

Perhaps the most obvious explanation for the fact that I 
dream about some indifferent impression of the day, while 



148 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

the impression which is justifiably stirring furnishes the 
occasion for dreaming, is that this again is a phenomenon of 
the dream-disfigurement, which we have above traced to a 
psychic power acting as a censor. The recollection of the 
monograph on the genus cyclamen is employed as though it 
were an allusion to the conversation with my friend, very 
much as mention of the friend in the dream of the deferred 
supper is represented by the allusion " smoked salmon." The 
only question is, by what intermediate steps does the im- 
pression of the monograph come to assume the relation of an 
allusion to the conversation with the eye speciahst, since such 
a relation is not immediately evident. In the example of the 
deferred supper, the relation is set forth at the outset ; " smoked 
salmon," as the favourite dish of the friend, belongs at once 
to the series of associations which the person of the friend would 
call up in the lady who is dreaming. In our new example 
we have two separated impressions, which seem at first glance 
to have nothing in common except that they occur on the 
same day. The monograph catches my attention in the 
forenoon ; I take part in the conversation in the evening. 
The answer supplied by the analysis is as follows : Such re- 
lations between the two impressions do not at first exist, but 
are established subsequently between the presentation content 
of the one impression and the presentation content of the 
other. I have recently emphasised the components in this 
relation in the course of recording the analysis. With the 
notion of the monograph on cyclamen I should probably 
associate the idea that cyclamen is my wife's favourite flower 
only under some outside influence, and this is perhaps the 
further recollection of the bunch of flowers missed by Mrs. L. 
I do not believe that these underlying thoughts would have 
been sufficient to call forth a dream. 

" There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave 
To tell us this," 

as we read in Hamlet. But behold ! I am reminded in 
the analysis that the name of the man who interrupted our 
conversation was Gärtner (Gardener), and that I found his 
wife in blooming health ; * I even remember now that one of 

* Ger., blühend. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 149 

my female patients, who bears the pretty name of Flora, was 
for a time the main subject of our conversation. It must 
have happened that I completed the connection between the 
two events of the day, the indifferent and the exciting one, by 
means of these links from the series of associations belonging 
to the idea of botany. Other relations are then established, 
that of cocaine, which can with perfect correctness form a go- 
between connecting the person of Dr. Koenigstein with the 
botanical monograph which I have written, and strengthen 
the fusion of the two series of associations into one, so that now 
a portion of the first experience may be used as an allusion to 
the second. 

I am prepared to find this explanation attacked as arbitrary 
or artificial. What would have happened if Professor Gärtner 
and his blooming wife had not come up, and if the patient 
who was talked about had been called, not Flora, but Anna % 
The answer is easy, however. If these thought-relations had 
not been present, others would probably have been selected. 
It is so easy to establish relations of this sort, as the joking 
questions and conundrums with which we amuse ourselves 
daily suffice to show. The range of wit is unlimited. To go a 
step further : if it had been impossible to establish inter- 
relations of sufficient abundance between the two impressions 
of the day, the dream would simply have resulted differently ; 
another of the indifferent impressions of the day, such as come 
to us in multitudes and are forgotten, would have taken the 
place of the monograph in the dream, would have secured a 
connection with the content of the talk, and would have repre- 
sented it in the dream. Since it was the impression of the 
monograph and no other that had this fate, this impression 
was probably the most suitable for the establishment of the 
connection. One need not be astonished, like Lessing's 
Hanschen Schlau, because " it is the rich people of the world 
who possess the most money." 

Still the psychological process by which, according to our 
conception, the indifferent experience is substituted for the 
psychologically important one, seems odd to us and open to 
question. In a later chapter we shall undertake the task of 
making this seemingly incorrect operation more intelligible. 
We are here concerned only with consequences of this pro- 



150 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

cedure, whose assumption we have been forced to make by 
the regularly recurring experiences of dream analysis. But 
the process seems to be that, in the course of those inter- 
mediate steps, a displacement — let us say of the psychic accent 
— has taken place, until ideas that are at first weakly charged 
with intensity, by taking over the charge from ideas which 
have a stronger initial intensity, reach a degree of strength, 
which enables them to force their way into consciousness. 
Such displacements do not at all surprise us when it is a 
question of the bestowal of affects or of the motor actions in 
general. The fact that the woman who has remained single 
transfers her affection to animals, that the bachelor becomes a 
passionate collector, that the soldier defends a scrap of coloured 
cloth, his flag, with his life-blood, that in a love affair a momen- 
tary clasping of hands brings bliss, or that in Othello a 
lost handkerchief causes a burst of rage — all these are examples 
of psychic displacement which seem unquestionable to us. 
But if, in the same manner and according to the same funda- 
mental principles, a decision is made as to what is to reach our 
consciousness and what is to be withheld from it, that is to 
say, what we are to think — this produces an impression of 
morbidity, and we call it an error of thought if it occurs in 
waking life. We may here anticipate the result of a dis- 
cussion which will be undertaken later — namely, to the effect 
that the psychic process which we have recognised as dream 
displacement proves to be not a process morbidly disturbed, 
but a process differing from the normal merely in being of a 
more primitive nature. 

We thus find in the fact that the dream content takes up 
remnants of trivial experiences a manifestation of dream 
disfigurement (by means of displacement), and we may recall 
that we have recognised this dream disfigurement as the work 
of a censor which controls the passage between two psychic 
instances. We accordingly expect that dream analysis will 
regularly reveal to us the genuine, significant source of 
the dream in the life of the day, the recollection of which has 
transferred its accent to some indifferent recollection. This 
conception brings us into complete opposition to Robert's 55 
theory, which thus becomes valueless for us. The fact which 
Robert was trying to explain simply doesn't exist ; its assump- 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 151 

tion is based upon a misunderstanding, upon the failure to 
substitute the real meaning of the dream for its apparent 
content. Further objection may be made to Robert's doctrine : 
If it were really the duty of the dream, by means of a special 
psychic activity, to rid our memory of the " slag " of the re- 
collections of the day, our sleep would have to be more troubled 
and employed in a more strained effort than we may suppose 
it to be from our waking life. For the number of indifferent 
impressions received during the day, against which we should 
have to protect our memory, is obviously infinitely large ; the 
night would not be long enough to accomplish the task. It is 
very much more probable that the forgetting of indifferent 
impressions takes place without any active interference on the 
part of our psychic powers. 

Still something cautions us against taking leave of Robert's 
idea without further consideration. We have left unex- 
plained the fact that one of the indifferent day-impressions — 
one from the previous day indeed — regularly furnished a 
contribution to the dream-content. Relations between this 
impression and the real source of the dream do not always 
exist from the beginning ; as we have seen, they are estab- 
lished only subsequently, in the course of the dream-work, 
as though in order to serve the purpose of the intended dis- 
placement. There must, therefore, be some necessity to form 
connections in this particular direction, of the recent, although 
indifferent impression ; the latter must have special fitness 
for this purpose because of some property. Otherwise it 
would be just as easy for the dream thoughts to transfer their 
accent to some inessential member of their own series of 
associations. 

The following experiences will lead us to an explanation. 
If a day has brought two or more experiences which are fitted 
to stimulate a dream, then the dream fuses the mention of 
both into a single whole ; it obeys an impulse to fashion a whole 
out of them ; for instance : One summer afternoon I entered 
a railroad compartment, in which I met two friends who were 
unknown to each other. One of them was an influential col- 
league, the other a member of a distinguished family, whose 
physician I was ; I made the two gentlemen acquainted with 
each other ; but during the long ride I was the go-between 



152 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

in the conversation, so that I had to treat a subject of con- 
versation now with the one, now with the other. I asked 
my colleague to recommend a common friend who had just 
begun his medical practice. He answered that he was con- 
vinced of the young man's thoroughness, but that his plain 
appearance would make his entrance into households of rank 
difficult. I answered : " That is just why he needs recom- 
mendation." Soon afterwards I asked the other fellow- 
traveller about the health of his aunt — the mother of one of 
my patients — who was at the time prostrated by a serious 
illness. During the night after this journey I dreamt that the 
young friend, for whom I had asked assistance, was in a 
splendid salon, and was making a funeral oration to a select 
company with the air of a man of the world — the oration being 
upon the old lady (now dead for the purposes of the dream) 
who was the aunt of the second fellow-traveller. (I confess 
frankly that I had not been on good terms with this lady.) 
My dream had thus found connections between the two im- 
pressions of the day, and by means of them composed a unified 
situation. 

In view of many similar experiences, I am driven to conclude 
that a kind of compulsion exists for the dream function, 
forcing it to bring together in the dream all the available 
sources of dream stimulation into a unified whole.* In a 
subsequent chapter (on the dream function) we shall become 
acquainted with this impulse for putting together as a part of 
condensation another primary psychic process. 

I shall now discuss the question whether the source from 
which the dream originates, and to which our analysis leads, 
must always be a recent (and significant) event, or whether 
a subjective experience, that is to say, the recollection of a 
psychologically valuable experience — a chain of thought — can 
take the part of a dream stimulus. The answer, which results 
most unequivocally from numerous analyses, is to the following 
effect. The stimulus for the dream may be a subjective 
occurrence, which has been made recent, as it were, by the 

* The tendency of the dream function to fuse everything of interest 
which is present into simultaneous treatment has already heen noticed by 
several authors, for instance, by Delage, 16 p. 41, Delbceuf, 10 Rapprochement 
Forest p. 23G. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 153 

mental activity during the day. It will probably not be out of 
place here to give a synopsis of various conditions which may 
be recognised as sources of dreams. 
The source of a dream may be : 

(a) A recent and psychologically significant experience 
which is directly represented in the dream.* 

(b) Several recent, significant experiences, which are united 
by the dream into a whole. f 

(c) One or more recent and significant experiences, which 
are represented in the dream by the mention of a contem- 
porary but indifferent experience. J 

(d) A subjective significant experience (a recollection, train 
of thought), which is regularly represented in the dream by the 
mention of a recent but indifferent impression. § 

As may be seen, in dream interpretation the condition is 
firmly adhered to throughout that each component of the 
dream repeats a recent impression of the day. The element 
which is destined to representation in the dream may either 
belong to the presentations surrounding the actual dream 
stimulus itself — and, furthermore, either as an essential or an 
inessential element of the same — or it may originate in the 
neighbourhood of an indifferent impression, which, through 
associations more or less rich, has been brought into relation 
with the thoughts surrounding the dream stimulus. The 
apparent multiplicity of the conditions here is produced by 
the alternative according to whether displacement has or has not 
taken place, and we may note that this alternative serves 
to explain the contrasts of the dream just as readily as the 
ascending series from partially awake to fully awake brain 
cells in the medical theory of the dream (c/. p. 64). 

Concerning this series, it is further notable that the element 
which is psychologically valuable, but not recent (a train of 
thought, a recollection) may be replaced, for the purposes of 
dream formation, by a recent, but psychologically indifferent, 
element, if only these two conditions be observed : 1. That 
the dream shall contain a reference to something which has 

* The dream of Irma's injection ; the dream of the friend who is my 
uncle. 

t The dream of the funeral oration of the young physician. 

% The dream of the botanical monograph. 

§ The dreams of my patients during analysis are mostly of this kind. 



154 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

been recently experienced ; 2. That the dream stimulus shall 
remain a psychologically valuable train of thought. In a 
single case (a) both conditions are fulfilled by the same im- 
pression. If it be added that the same indifferent impressions 
which are used for the dream, as long as they are recent, lose 
this availability as soon as they become a day (or at most 
several days) older, the assumption must be made that the 
very freshness of an impression gives it a certain psychological 
value for dream formation, which is somewhat equivalent to 
the value of emotionally accentuated memories or trains of 
thought. We shall be able to see the basis of this value of 
recent impressions for dream formation only with the help 
of certain psychological considerations which will appear 
later.* 

Incidentally our attention is called to the fact that im- 
portant changes in the material comprised by our ideas and 
our memory may be brought about unconsciously and at 
night. The injunction that one should sleep for a night upon 
any affair before making a final decision about it is obviously 
fully justified. But we see that at this point we have pro- 
ceeded from the psychology of dreaming to that of sleep, a 
step for which there will often be occasion. 

Now there arises an objection threatening to invalidate the 
conclusions we have just reached. If indifferent impressions 
oan get into the dream only in case they are recent, how does 
it happen that we find also in the dream content elements 
from earlier periods in our fives, which at the time when they 
were recent possessed, as Strümpell expresses it, no psychic 
value, which, therefore, ought to have been forgotten long ago, 
and which, therefore, are neither fresh nor psychologically 
significant ? 

This objection can be fully met if we rely upon the results 
furnished by psychoanalysis of neurotics. The solution is as 
follows : The process of displacement which substitutes in- 
different material for that having psychic significance (for 
dreaming as well as for thinking) has already taken place in 
those earlier periods of life, and has since become fixed in the 
memory. Those elements which were originally indifferent 
are in fact no longer so, since they have acquired the value of 
* Of. Chap. VII. upon " Transference." 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 155 

psychologically significant material. That which has actually 
remained indifferent can never be reproduced in the dream. 

It will be correct to suppose from the foregoing discussion 
that I maintain that there are no indifferent dream stimuli, 
and that, accordingly, there are no harmless dreams. This I 
believe to be the case, thoroughly and exclusively, allowance 
being made for the dreams of children and perhaps for short 
dream reactions to nocturnal sensations. Whatever one may 
dream, it is either manifestly recognisable as psychically 
significant or it is disfigured, and can be judged correctly only 
after a complete interpretation, when, as before, it may be 
recognised as possessing psychic significance. The dream 
never concerns itself with trifles ; we do not allow ourselves 
to be disturbed in our sleep by matters of slight importance. 
Dreams which are apparently harmless turn out to be sinister 
if one takes pains to interpret them ; if I may be permitted 
the expression, they all have " the mark of the beast." As this 
is another point on which I may expect opposition, and as 
I am glad of an opportunity to show dream - disfigurement 
at work, I shall here subject a number of dreams from my 
collection to analysis. 

1. An intelligent and refined young lady, who, however, 
in conduct, belongs to the class we call reserved, to the " still 
waters," relates the following dream : — 

Her husband asks : " Should not the piano be tuned ? " 
She answers : "It won't pay ; the hammers would have to be 
newly buffed too." This repeats an actual event of the previous 
day. Her husband had asked such a question, and she had 
answered something similar. But what is the significance of 
her dreaming it 1 She tells of the piano, indeed, that it is a 
disgusting old box which has a bad tone ; it is one of the tilings 
which her husband had before they were married,* &c, but 
the key to the true solution lies in the phrase : It won't pay. 
This originated in a visit made the day before to a lady friend. 
Here she was asked to take off her coat, but she declined, 
saying, " It won't pay. I must go in a moment." At this 
point, I recall that during yesterday's analysis she suddenly 
took hold of her coat, a button of which had opened. It is, 

* Substitution of the opposite, as will become clear to us after inter- 
pretation. 



156 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

therefore, as if she had said, " Please don't look in this direc- 
tion ; it won't pay." Thus " box " develops into " chest," or 
breast-box (" bust "), and the interpretation of the dream 
leads directly to a time in her bodily development when she 
was dissatisfied with her shape. It also leads to earlier periods, 
if we take into consideration " disgusting " and " bad tone," 
and remember how often in allusions and in dreams the two 
small hemispheres of the feminine body take the place — as a 
substitute and as an antithesis — of the large ones. 

II. I may interrupt this dream to insert a brief harmless 
dream of a young man. He dreamt that he was putting on his 
winter overcoat again, which was terrible. The occasion for this 
dream is apparently the cold weather, which has recently set 
in again. On more careful examination we note that the two 
short portions of the dream do not fit together well, for what 
is there " terrible " about wearing a heavy or thick coat in 
the cold ? Unfortunately for the harmlessness of this dream, 
the first idea educed in analysis is the recollection that on the 
previous day a lady had secretly admitted to him that her 
last child owed its existence to the bursting of a condom. 
He now reconstructs his thoughts in accordance with this 
suggestion : A thin condom is dangerous, a thick one is bad. 
The condom is an " overcoat " (Ueberzieher), for it is put over 
something ; Ueberzieher is also the name given in German to a 
thin overcoat. An experience like the one related by the lady 
would indeed be " terrible " for an unmarried man. — We 
may now return- to our other harmless dreamer. 

III. She puts a candle into a candlestick ; but the candle is 
broken, so that it does not stand straight. The girls at school say 
she is clumsy ; the young lady replies that it is not her jault. 

Here, too, there is an actual occasion for the dream ; the 
day before she had actually put a candle into a candlestick ; 
but this one was not broken. A transparent symbolism has 
been employed here. The candle is an object which excites 
the feminine genitals ; its being broken, so that it does not 
stand straight, signifies impotence on the man's part (" it is 
not her fault "). But does this young woman, carefully 
brought up, and a stranger to all obscenity, know of this 
application of the candle ? She happens to be able to tell how 
she came by this information. While riding in a boat on the 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 157 

Rhine, another boat passes containing students who are singing 
or rather yelling, with great delight : " When the Queen of 
Sweden with closed shutters and the candles of Apollo. . ." 

She does not hear or understand the last word. Her 
husband is asked to give her the required explanation. These 
verses are then replaced in the dream content by the harmless 
recollection of a command which she once executed clumsily 
at a girls' boarding school, this occurring by means of the 
common features closed shutters. The connection between the 
theme of onanism and that of impotence is clear enough. 
" Apollo " in the latent dream content connects this dream 
with an earlier one in which the virgin Pallas figured. All this 
is obviously not harmless. 

IV. Lest it may seem too easy a matter to draw con- 
clusions from dreams concerning the dreamer's real circum- 
stances, I add another dream coming from the same person 
which likewise appears harmless. " / dreamt of doing some- 
thing" she relates, " which I actually did during the day, that 
is to say, I filled a little trunk so full of books that I had difficulty 
in closing it. My dream was just like the actual occurrence''' 
Here the person relating the dream herself attaches chief im- 
portance to the correspondence between the dream and reality. 
All such criticisms upon the dream and remarks about it, 
although they have secured a place in waking thought, re- 
gularly belong to the latent dream content, as later examples 
will further demonstrate We are told, then, that what the 
dream relates has actually taken place during the day. It 
would take us too far afield to tell how we reach the idea of 
using the English language to help us in the interpretation of 
this dream. Suffice it to say that it is again a question of a 
little box (cf. p. 130, the dream of the dead child in the box) 
which has been filled so full that nothing more can go into it. 
Nothing in the least sinister this time. 

In all these " harmless " dreams the sexual factor as a 
motive for the exercise of the censor receives striking pro- 
minence. But this is a matter of primary importance, which 
we must postpone. 

(b) Infantile Experiences as the Source of Dreams 

As the third of the peculiarities of the dream content, we 



158 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

have cited from all the authors (except Robert) the fact that 
impressions from the earliest times of our lives, which seem 
not to be at the disposal of the waking memory, may appear 
in the dream. It is, of course, difficult to judge how often or 
how seldom this occurs, because the respective elements of the 
dream are not recognised according to their origin after waking. 
The proof that we are dealing with childhood impressions must 
thus be reached objectively, and the conditions necessary for 
this happen to coincide only in rare instances. The story is 
told by A. Maury, 48 as being particularly conclusive, of a man 
who decided to visit his birthplace after twenty years' absence. 
During the night before his departure, he dreams that he is in 
an altogether strange district, and that he there meets a strange 
man with whom he has a conversation. Having afterward 
returned to his home, he was able to convince himself that 
this strange district really existed in the neighbourhood of his 
home town, and the strange man in the dream turned out to 
be a friend of his dead father who lived there. Doubtless, a 
conclusive proof that he had seen both the man and the dis- 
trict in his childhood. The dream, moreover, is to be inter- 
preted as a dream of impatience, like that of the girl who 
carries her ticket for the concert of the evening in her pocket 
(p. 110), of the child whose father had promised him an ex- 
cursion to the Hameau, and the like. The motives explaining 
why just this impression of childhood is reproduced for the 
dreamer cannot, of course, be discovered without an analysis. 
One of the attendants at my lectures, who boasted that his 
dreams were very rarely subject to disfigurement, told me 
that he had sometime before in a dream seen his former tutor 
in bed with his nurse, who had been in the household until he 
was eleven years old. The location of this scene does not 
occur to him in the dream. As he was much interested, he 
told the dream to his elder brother, who laughingly confirmed 
its reality. The brother said he remembered the affair very 
well, for he was at the time six years old. The lovers were in 
the habit of making him, the elder boy, drunk with beer, 
whenever circumstances were favourable for nocturnal re- 
lations. The smaller child, at that time three years old — our 
dreamer — who slept in the same room as the nurse, was not 
considered an obstacle. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 159 

In still another case it may be definitely ascertained, without 
the aid of dream interpretation, that the dream contains 
elements from childhood ; that is, if it be a so-called perennial 
dream, which being first dreamt in childhood, later appears 
again and again after adult age has been reached. I may add 
a few examples of this sort to those already familiar, although 
I have never made the acquaintance of such a perennial dream 
in my own case. A physician in the thirties tells me that a 
yellow lion, about which he can give the most detailed in- 
formation, has often appeared in his dream-life from the 
earliest period of his childhood to the present day. This lion, 
known to him from his dreams, was one day discovered in 
natura as a long-forgotten object made of porcelain, and on 
that occasion the young man learned from his mother that 
this object had been his favourite toy in early childhood, a fact 
which he himself could no longer remember. 

If we now turn from the manifest dream content to the 
dream thoughts which are revealed only upon analysis, the 
co-operation of childhood experiences may be found to exist 
even in dreams whose content would not have led us to suspect 
anything of the sort. I owe a particularly delightful and 
instructive example of such a dream to my honoured colleague 
of the " yellow hon." After reading Nansen's account of his 
polar expedition, he dreamt that he was giving the bold ex- 
plorer electrical treatment in an ice field for an ischaemia of 
which the latter complained ! In the analysis of this dream, 
he remembered a story of his childhood, without which the 
dream remains entirely unintelligible. When he was a child, 
three or four years old, he was listening attentively to a con- 
versation of older people about trips of exploration, and 
presently asked papa whether exploration was a severe illness. 
He had apparently confused " trips " with " rips," and the 
ridicule of his brothers and sisters prevented his ever forgetting 
the humiliating experience. 

The case is quite similar when, in the analysis of the dream 
of the monograph on the genus cyclamen, I happen upon the 
recollection, retained from childhood, that my father allowed 
me to destroy a book embellished with coloured plates when I 
was a little boy five years old. It will perhaps be doubted 
whether this recollection actually took part in the composition 



160 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

of the dream content, and it will be intimated that the process 
of analysis has subsequently established the connection. But 
the abundance and intricacy of the ties of association vouch 
for the truth of my explanation : cyclamen — favourite flower 
— favourite dish — artichoke ; to pick to pieces like an arti- 
choke, leaf by leaf (a phrase which at that time rang in our 
ears ä propos of the dividing up of the Chinese Empire) — 
herbarium — bookworm, whose favourite dish is books. I may 
state further that the final meaning of the dream, which I 
have not given here, has the most intimate connection with 
the content of the childhood scene. 

In another series of dreams we learn from analysis that the 
wish itself, which has given rise to the dream, and whose 
fulfilment the dream turns out to be, has originated in child- 
hood — until one is astonished to find that the child with all its 
impulses lives on in the dream. 

I shall now continue the interpretation of a dream which has 
already proved instructive — I refer to the dream in which 
friend R. is my uncle (p. 116). We have carried its interpreta- 
tion far enough for the wish-motive, of being appointed pro- 
fessor, to assert itself tangibly ; and we have explained the 
affection displayed in the dream for friend R. as a fiction of 
opposition and spite against the aspersion of the two col- 
leagues, who appear in the dream thoughts. The dream was 
my own ; I may, therefore, continue the analysis by stating 
that my feelings were not quite satisfied by the solution 
reached. I know that my opinion of these colleagues who are 
so badly treated in the dream thoughts would have been 
expressed in quite different terms in waking life ; the potency 
of the wish not to share their fate in the matter of appoint- 
ment seemed to me too slight to account for the discrepancy 
between my estimate in the dream and that of waking. If 
my desire to be addressed by a new title proves so strong it 
gives proof of a morbid ambition, which I did not know to 
exist in me, and which I believe is far from my thoughts. I 
do not know how others, who think they know me, would 
judge me, for perhaps I have really been ambitious ; but if 
this be true, my ambition has long since transferred itself to 
other objects than the title and rank of assistant-professor. 

Whence, then, the ambition which the dream has ascribed 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 161 

to me ? Here I remember a story which I heard often in my 
childhood, that at my birth an old peasant's wife had pro- 
phesied to my happy mother (I was her first-born) that she had 
given to the world a great man. Such prophecies must occur 
very frequently ; there are so many mothers happy in ex- 
pectation, and so many old peasant wives whose influence on 
earth has waned, and who have therefore turned their eyes 
towards the future. The prophetess was not likely to suffer 
for it either. Might my hunger for greatness have originated 
from this source ? But here I recollect an impression from the 
later years of my childhood, which would serve still better as 
an explanation. It was of an evening at an inn on the Prater,* 
where my parents were accustomed to take me when I was 
eleven or twelve years old. We noticed a man who went 
from table to table and improvised verses upon any subject 
that was given to him. I was sent to bring the poet to our 
table and he showed himself thankful for the message. Before 
asking for his subject he threw off a few rhymes about me, and 
declared it probable, if he could trust his inspiration, that I 
would one day become a " minister." I can still distinctly 
remember the impression made by this second prophecy. It 
was at the time of the election for the municipal ministry ; my 
father had recently brought home pictures of those elected to 
the ministry — Herbst, Giskra, Unger, Berger, and others — 
and we had illuminated them in honour of these gentlemen. 
There were even some Jews among them ; every industrious 
Jewish schoolboy therefore had the making of a minister in 
him. Even the fact that until shortly before my enrolment 
in the University I wanted to study jurisprudence, and changed 
my plans only at the last moment, must be connected with the 
impressions of that time. A minister's career is under no 
circumstances open to a medical man. And now for my 
dream ! I begin to see that it transplants me from the sombre 
present to the hopeful time of the municipal election, and 
fulfils my wish of that time to the fullest extent. In treating 
my two estimable and learned colleagues so badly, because 
they are Jews, the one as a simpleton and the other as a 
criminal — in doing this I act as though I were the minister of 
education, I put myself in his place. What thorough revenge 
* The Prater is the principal drive of Vienna. (Transl.) 

L 



162 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

I take upon his Excellency ! He refuses to appoint me pro- 
fessor extraordinarius, and in return I put myself in his place 
in the dream. 

Another case establishes the fact that although the wish 
which actuates the dream is a present one, it nevertheless draws 
great intensification from childhood memories. I refer to a 
series of dreams which are based upon the longing to go to 
Rome. I suppose I shall still have to satisfy this longing by 
means of dreams for a long time to come, because, at the time 
of year which is at my disposal for travelling, a stay at Rome 
is to be avoided on account of considerations of health.* 
Thus I once dreamt of seeing the Tiber and the bridge of St. 
Angelo from the window of a railroad compartment ; then 
the train starts, and it occurs to me that I have never entered 
the city at all. The view which I saw in the dream was modelled 
after an engraving which I had noticed in passing the day 
before in the parlour of one of my patients. On another 
occasion some one is leading me upon a hill and showing me 
Rome half enveloped in mist, and so far in the distance that 
I am astonished at the distinctness of the view. The content 
of this dream is too rich to be fully reported here. The motive, 
" to see the promised land from afar," is easily recognisable in 
it. The city is Lübeck, which I first saw in the mist ; the 
original of the hill is the Gleichenberg. In a third dream, I am 
at last in Rome, as the dream tells me. To my disappointment, 
the scenery which I see is anything but urban. A little river 
with black water, on one side of which are black rocks, on the 
other large white flowers. I notice a certain Mr. Zucker (with 
whom I am superficially acquainted), and make up my mind 
to ask him to show me the ivay into the city. It is apparent that 
I am trying in vain to see a city in the dream which I have 
never seen in waking life. If I resolve the landscape into its 
elements, the white flowers indicate Ravenna, which is known 
to me, and which, for a time at least, deprived Rome of its 
leading place as capital of Italy. In the swamps around 
Ravenna we had seen the most beautiful water-lilies in the 
middle of black pools of water ; the dream makes them grow 
on meadows, like the narcissi of our own Aussee, because at 

* I have lon<< since learned that it only requires a little courage to fulfil 
even such unattainable wishes. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 163 

Ravenna it was such tedious work to fetch them out of the 
water. The black rock, so close to the water, vividly recalls 
the valley of the Tepl at Karlsbad. " Karlsbad " now enables 
me to account for the peculiar circumstance that I ask Mr. 
Zucker the way. In the material of which the dream is com- 
posed appear also two of those amusing Jewish anecdotes, 
which conceal so much profound and often bitter worldly 
wisdom, and which we are so fond of quoting in our conversa- 
tion and letters. One is the story of the " constitution," and 
tells how a poor Jew sneaks into the express train for Karlsbad 
without a ticket, how he is caught and is treated more and 
more unkindly at each call for tickets by the conductor, and 
how he tells a friend, whom he meets at one of the stations 
during his miserable journey, and who asks him where he is 
travelling : " To Karlsbad, if my constitution will stand it." 
Associated with this in memory is another story about a Jew 
who is ignorant of French, and who has express instructions to 
ask in Paris for the way to the Rue Richelieu. Paris was for 
many years the object of my own longing, and I took the great 
satisfaction with which I first set foot on the pavement in 
Paris as a warrant that I should also attain the fulfilment of 
other wishes. Asking for the way is again a direct allusion 
to Rome, for of course all roads lead to Rome. Moreover, 
the name Zucker (English, sugar) again points to Karlsbad, 
whither we send all persons afflicted with the constitutional 
disease, diabetes (Zuckerkrankheit, sugar-disease). The oc- 
casion for this dream was the proposal of my Berlin friend 
that we should meet in Prague at Easter. A further allusion 
to sugar and diabetes was to be found in the matters which I 
had to talk over with him. 

A fourth dream, occurring shortly after the last one men- 
tioned, brings me back to Rome. I see a street-corner before 
me and am astonished to see so many German placards posted 
there. On the day before I had written my friend with 
prophetic vision that Prague would probably not be a comfort- 
able resort for German travellers. The dream, therefore, 
simultaneously expressed the wish to meet him at Rome 
instead of at the Bohemian city, and a desire, which probably 
originated during my student days, that the German language 
might be accorded more tolerance in Prague. Besides I must 



164 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

have understood the Czech language in the first three years of 
my childhood, because I was born in a small village of Moravia, 
inhabited by Slavs. A Czech nursery rhyme, which I heard 
in my seventeenth year, became, without effort on my part, so 
imprinted upon my memory that I can repeat it to this day, 
although I have no idea of its meaning. There is then no lack 
in these dreams also of manifold relations to impressions from 
the first years of my life. 

It was during my last journey to Italy, which, among other 
places, took me past Lake Trasimenus, that I at last found 
what re-enforcement my longing for the Eternal City had 
received from the impressions of my youth ; this was after I 
had seen the Tiber, and had turned back with painful emotions 
when I was within eighty kilometers of Rome. I was just 
broaching the plan of travelling to Naples via Rome the next 
year, when this sentence, which I must have read in one of 
our classical authors, occurred to me : " It is a question which 
of the two paced up and down in his room the more im- 
patiently after he had made the plan to go to Rome — Assistant- 
Headmaster Winckelman or the great general Hannibal." I 
myself had walked in Hannibal's footsteps ; like him I was 
destined never to see Rome, and he too had gone to Campania 
after the whole world had expected him in Rome. Hannibal, 
with whom I had reached this point of similarity, had been 
my favourite hero during my years at the Gymnasium ; like so 
many boys of my age, I bestowed my sympathies during the 
Punic war, not on the Romans, but on the Carthaginians. 
Then, when I came finally to understand the consequences of 
belonging to an alien race, and was forced by the anti-semitic 
sentiment among my class-mates to assume a definite attitude, 
the figure of the Semitic commander assumed still greater pro- 
portions in my eyes. Hannibal and Rome symbolised for me 
as a youth the antithesis between the tenaciousness of the 
Jews and the organisation of the Catholic Church. The signi- 
ficance for our emotional life which the anti-semitic movement 
has since assumed helped to fix the thoughts and impressions 
of that earlier time. Thus the wish to get to Rome has become 
the cover and symbol in my dream-life for several warmly 
cherished wishes, for the realisation of which one might work 
with the perseverance and single-mindedness of the Punic 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 165 

general, and whose fulfilment sometimes seems as little 
favoured by fortune as the wish of Hannibal's life to enter 
Rome. 

And now for the first time I happen upon the youthful 
experience which, even to-day, still manifests its power in all 
these emotions and dreams. I may have been ten or twelve 
years old when my father began to take me with him on his 
walks, and to reveal to me his views about the things of this 
world in his conversation. In this way he once told me, in 
order to show into how much better times I had been born 
than he, the following : " While I was a young man, I was 
walking one Saturday on a street in the village where you 
were born ; I was handsomely dressed and wore a new fur 
cap. Along comes a Christian, who knocks my cap into the 
mud with one blow and shouts : " Jew, get off the sidewalk." 
" And what did you do ? " "I went into the street and picked 
up the cap," was the calm answer. That did not seem heroic 
on the part of the big strong man, who was leading me, a 
little fellow, by the hand. I contrasted this situation, which 
did not please me, with another more in harmony with my 
feelings — the scene in which Hannibal's father, Hamilcar * 
Barka made his boy swear at the domestic altar to take 
vengeance on the Romans. Since that time Hannibal has 
had a place in my phantasies. 

I think I can follow my enthusiasm for the Carthaginian 
general still further back into my childhood, so that possibly 
we have here the transference of an already formed emotional 
relation to a new vehicle. One of the first books which fell 
into my childish hands, after I learned to read, was Thiers' 
Konsulat und Kaiserreich (Consulship and Empire) ; I re- 
member I pasted on the flat backs of my wooden soldiers little 
labels with the names of the Imperial marshals, and that at 
that time Massena (as a Jew Menasse) was already my avowed 
favourite. Napoleon himself follows Hannibal in crossing the 
Alps. And perhaps the development of this martial ideal 
can be traced still further back into my childhood, to the wish 
which the now friendly, now hostile, intercourse during my 

* In the first edition there was printed here the name Hasdrubal, a con- 
fusing error, the explanation of which I have given in my Psychopathologie 
des Alltagalebens. 



166 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

first three years with a boy a year older than myself must 
have actuated, in the weaker of the two playmates. 

The deeper one goes in the analysis of dreams, the more 
often one is put on the track of childish experiences which 
play the part of dream sources in the latent dream 
content. 

We have learned (p. 16) that the dream very rarely repro- 
duces experiences in such a manner that they constitute the 
sole manifest dream content, unabridged and unchanged. 
Still some authentic examples showing this process have been 
reported, and I can add some new ones which again refer to 
infantile scenes. In the case of one of my patients, a dream 
once gave a barely disfigured reproduction of a sexual occur- 
rence, which was immediately recognised as an accurate 
recollection. The memory of it indeed had never been lost 
in waking life, but it had been greatly obscured, and its revivi- 
fication was a result of the preceding work of analysis. The 
dreamer had at the age of twelve visited a bed-ridden school- 
mate, who had exposed himself by a movement in bed, pro- 
bably only by chance. At the sight of the genitals, he was 
seized by a kind of compulsion, exposed himself and took hold 
of the member belonging to the other boy, who, however, 
looked at him with surprise and indignation, whereupon he 
became embarrassed and let go. A dream repeated this scene 
twenty-three years later, with all the details of the emotions 
occurring in it, changing it, however, in this respect, that the 
dreamer took the passive part instead of the active one, 
while the person of the school-mate was replaced by one 
belonging to the present. 

As a rule, of course, a childhood scene is represented in the 
manifest dream content only by an allusion, and must be 
extricated from the dream by means of interpretation. The 
citation of examples of this kind cannot have a very con- 
vincing effect, because every guarantee that they are experi- 
ences of childhood is lacking ; if they belong to an earlier 
time of life, they are no longer recognised by our memory. 
Justification for the conclusion that such childish experiences 
generally exist in dreams is based upon a great number of 
factors which become apparent t in psychoanalytical work, and 
which seem reliable enough when regarded as a whole. But 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 167 

when, for the purposes of dream interpretation, such re- 
ferences of dreams to childish experiences are torn from 
their context, they will perhaps not make much impression, 
especially since I never give all the material upon which the 
interpretation depends. However, I shall not let this prevent 
me from giving some examples. 

I. The following dream is from another female patient : 
She is in a large room, in which there are all kinds of machines, 
perhaps, as she imagines, an orthopcedic institute. She hears 
that I have no time, and that she must take the treatment along 
with five others. But she resists, and is unwilling to lie down on 
the bed — or whatever it is — which is intended for her. She stands 
in a corner and waits for me to say " It is not true." The others, 
meanwhile, laugh at her, saying it is all foolishness on her part. 
At the same time it is as if she were called upon to make many 
small squares. 

The first part of the content of this dream is an allusion to 
the treatment and a transference on me. The second contains 
an allusion to a childhood scene ; the two portions are con- 
nected by the mention of the bed. The orthopaedic institute 
refers to one of my talks in which I compared the treatment 
as to its duration and nature with an orthopaedic treatment. 
At the beginning of the treatment I had to tell her that for 
the present I had little time for her, but that later on I would 
devote a whole hour to her daily. This aroused in her the 
old sensitiveness, which is the chief characteristic of children 
who are to be hysterical. Their desire for love is insatiable. 
My patient was the youngest of six brothers and sisters (hence, 
" with five others "), and as such the favourite of her father, 
but in spite of that she seems to have found that her beloved 
father devoted too little time and attention to her. The detail 
of her waiting for me to say " It is not true," has the following 
explanation : A tailor's apprentice had brought her a dress, 
and she had given him the money for it. Then she asked her 
husband whether she would have to pay the money again if 
the boy were to lose it. To tease her, her husband answered 
'' Yes " (the teasing in the dream), and she asked again and 
again, and waited for him to say " It is not true." The thought 
of the latent dream-content may now be construed as follows : 
Will she have to pay me the double amount if I devote twice 



168 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

the time to her ? a thought which is stingy or filthy. (The 
uncleanliness of childhood is often replaced in the dream by 
greediness for money ; the word filthy here supplies the 
bridge.) If all that about waiting until I should say, &c, 
serves as a dream circumlocution for the word " filthy," the 
standing-in-a-corner and not lying down-on-the-bed are in 
keeping ; for these two features are component parts of a 
scene of childhood, in which she had soiled her bed, and for 
punishment was put into a corner, with the warning that papa 
would not love her any more, and her brothers and sisters 
laughed at her, &c. The little squares refer to her young 
niece, who has shown her the arithmetical trick of writing 
figures in nine squares, I believe it is, in such a way that 
upon being added together in any direction they make 
fifteen. 

II. Here is the dream of a man : He sees two boys tussling 
with each other, and they are cooper's boys, as he concludes from 
the implements which are lying about ; one of the boys has thrown 
the other down, the prostrate one wears ear-rings with blue stones. 
He hurries after the wrongdoer with lifted cane, in order to 
chastise him. The latter takes refuge with a woman who is 
standing against a wooden fence, as though it were his mother. 
She is the wife of a day labourer, and she turns her back to the 
man who is dreaming. At last she faces about and stares at him 
with a horrible look, so that he runs away in fright ; in her eyes 
the red flesh of the lower lid seems to stand out. 

The dream has made abundant use of trivial occurrences 
of the previous day. The day before he actually saw two boys 
on the street, one of whom threw the other one down. When 
he hurried up to them in order to settle the quarrel, both of 
them took flight. Coopers' boys : this is explained only by a 
subsequent dream, in the analysis of which he used the ex- 
pression, " To knock the bottom out of the barrel." Ear-rings 
with blue stones, according to his observation, are chiefly 
worn by prostitutes. Furthermore, a familiar doggerel rhyme 
about two boys comes up : " The other boy, his name was 
Mary " (that is, he was a girl). The woman standing up : 
after the scene with the two boys, he took a walk on the 
bank of the Danube, and took advantage of being alone 
to urinate against a wooden fence. A little later during 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 169 

his walk, a decently dressed elderly lady smiled at him 
very pleasantly, and wanted to hand him her card with 
her address. 

Since in the dream the woman stood as he had while 
urinating, it is a question of a woman urinating, and this 
explains the " horrible look," and the prominence of the red 
flesh, which can only refer to the genitals which gap in squat- 
ting. He had seen genitals in his childhood, and they had 
appeared in later recollection as " proud flesh " and as 
" wound." The dream unites two occasions upon which, as 
a young boy, the dreamer had had opportunity to see the 
genitals of little girls, in throwing one down, and while another 
was urinating ; and, as is shown by another association, he 
had kept in memory a punishment or threat of his father's, 
called forth by the sexual curiosity which the boy manifested 
on these occasions. 

III. A great mass of childish memories, which have been 
hastily united in a phantasy, is to be found behind the follow- 
ing dream of a young lady. 

She goes out in trepidation, in order to do some shopping. 
On the Graben * she sinks to her knees as though broken down. 
Many people collect around her, especially the hackney-coach 
drivers ; but no one helps her to get up. She makes many un- 
availing attempts ; finally she must have succeeded, for she is 
put into a hackney-coach which is to take her home. A large, 
heavily laden basket (something like a market-basket) is thrown 
after her through the window. 

This is the same woman who is always harassed in her 
dreams as she was harassed when a child. The first situation 
of the dream is apparently taken from seeing a horse that 
had fallen, just as " broken down " points to horse-racing. 
She was a rider in her early years, still earlier she was probably 
also a horse. Her first childish memory of the seventeen- 
year-old son of the porter, who, being seized on the street by 
an epileptic fit, was brought home in a coach, is connected 
with the idea of falling down. Of this, of course, she has only 
heard, but the idea of epileptic fits and of falling down has 
obtained great power over her phantasies, and has later in- 
fluenced the form of her own hysterical attacks. When a 
* A street in Vienna. 



170 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

person of the female sex dreams of falling, this almost re- 
gularly has a sexual significance ; she becomes a " fallen 
woman," and for the purpose of the dream under considera- 
tion this interpretation is probably the least doubtful, for she 
falls on the Graben, the place in Vienna which is known as 
the concourse of prostitutes. The market-basket admits of 
more than one interpretation ; in the sense of refusal (German, 
Korb — basket — snub, refusal), she remembers the many snubs 
which she first gave her suitors, and which she later, as she 
thinks, received herself. Here belongs also the detail that 
no one will help her up, which she herself interprets as being 
disdained. Furthermore, the market-basket recalls phantasies 
that have already appeared in the course of analysis, in which 
she imagines she has married far beneath her station, and 
now goes marketing herself. But lastly the market-basket 
might be interpreted as the mark of a servant. This suggests 
further childhood memories — of a cook who was sent away 
because she stole ; she, too, sank to her knees and begged for 
mercy. The dreamer was at that time twelve years old. 
Then there is a recollection of a chamber-maid, who was 
dismissed because she had an affair with the coachman of 
the household, who, incidently, married her afterwards. 
This recollection, therefore, gives us a clue to the coachman 
in the dream (who do not, in contrast with what is actually 
the case, take the part of the fallen woman). But there still 
remains to be explained the throwing of the basket, and the 
throwing of it through the window. This takes her to the 
transference of baggage on the railroad, to the Fensterln* 
in the country, and to minor impressions received at a country 
resort, of a gentleman throwing some blue plums to a lady 
through her window, and of the dreamer's little sister being 
frightened because a cretin who was passing looked in at the 
window. And now from behind this there emerges an obscure 
recollection, from her tenth year, of a nurse who made love at 
the country resort with a servant of the household, of which 

* Fensterln is the practice, now falling into disuse, found in rural dis- 
tricts of the German Schwarzwald, of lovers wooing at the windows of their 
sweethearts, bringing ladders with them, and becoming so intimate that they 
practically enjoy a system of trial marriages. The reputation of the young 
woman never suffers on account of fensterln, unless she becomes intimate 
with too many suitors. (Translator.) 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 171 

the child had opportunity to see something, and who was 
" fired " (thrown out) (in the dream the opposite : " thrown 
into "), a story which we had also approached by several 
other paths. The baggage, moreover, or the trunk of a servant, 
is disparagingly referred to in Vienna as " seven plums." 
" Pack up your seven plums and get out." 

My collection, of course, contains an abundant supply of 
such patients' dreams, whose analysis leads to childish im- 
pressions that are remembered obscurely or not at all, and 
that often date back to the first three years of life. But it is 
a mistake to draw conclusions from them which are to apply 
to the dream in general ; we are in every case dealing with 
neurotic, particularly with hysterical persons ; and the part 
played by childhood scenes in these dreams might be con- 
ditioned by the nature of the neurosis, and not by that of the 
dream. However, I am struck quite as often in the course of 
interpreting my own dreams, which I do not do on account of 
obvious symptoms of disease, by the fact that I unsuspectingly 
come upon a scene of childhood in the latent dream content, 
and that a whole series of dreams suddenly falls into line with 
conclusions drawn from childish experiences. I have already 
given examples of this, and shall give still more upon various 
occasions. Perhaps I cannot close the whole chapter more 
fittingly than by citing several of my own dreams, in which 
recent happenings and long-forgotten experiences of child- 
hood appear together as sources of dreams. 

I. After I fyave been travelling and have gone to bed 
hungry and tired, the great necessities of life begin to assert 
their claims in sleep, and I dream as follows : I go into a 
kitchen to order sow,e pastry. Here three women are standing, 
one of whom is the hostess, and is turning something in her hand 
as though she zuere making dumplings. She answers that I 
must wait until she has finished (not distinctly as a speech). 
/ become impatient and go away insulted. I put on an overcoat ; 
but the first one which I try is too long. I take it off, and am 
somewhat astonished to find that it has fur trimming. A second 
one has sewn into it a long strip of cloth with Turkish drawings. 
A stranger with a long face and a short pointed beard comes up 
and prevents me from putting it on, declaring that it belongs to 
him. I now shoiv him that it is embroidered all over in Turkish 



172 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

fashion. He asks, " What business are the Turkish {drawings, 
strips of cloth . . . ) of yours ? But we then become quite 
friendly with each other. 

In the analysis of this dream there occurs to me quite 
unexpectedly the novel which I read, that is to say, which I 
began with the end of the first volume, when I was perhaps 
thirteen years old. I have never known the name of the novel 
or of its author, but the conclusion remains vividly in my 
memory. The hero succumbs to insanity, and continually 
calls the names of the three women that have signified the 
greatest good and ill fortune for him during life. Pelagie is 
one of these names. I still ao not know what to make of 
this name in the analysis. A propos of the three women there 
now come to the surface the three Parcae who spin the fate of 
man, and I know that one of the three women, the hostess 
in the dream, is the mother who gives life, and who, moreover, 
as in my case, gives the first nourishment to the living creature. 
Love and hunger meet at the mother's breast. A young man 
— so runs an anecdote — who became a great admirer of womanly 
beauty, once when the conversation turned upon a beautiful 
wet nurse who had nourished him as a child, expressed himself 
to the effect that he was sorry that he had not taken better 
advantage of his opportunity at the time. I am in the habit 
of using the anecdote to illustrate the factor of subsequence 
in the mechanism of psychoneuroses. . . . One of the Pare«, 
then, is rubbing the palms of her hands together as though she 
were making dumplings. A strange occupation for one of 
the Fates, which is urgently in need of an explanation ! This 
is now found in another and earlier childhood memory. When 
I was six years old, and was receiving my first instructions from 
my mother, I was asked to believe that we are made of earth, 
and that therefore we must return to earth. But this did not 
suit me, and I doubted her teaching. Thereupon my mother 
rubbed the palms of her hands together — just as in making 
dumplings, except that there was no dough between them — 
and showed me the blackish scales of epidermis which were 
thus rubbed off as a proof that it is earth of which we are 
made. My astonishment at this demonstration ad oculos 
was without limit, and I acquiesced in the idea which I was 
later to hear expressed in words : " Thou owest nature a 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 173 

death." * Thus the women are really Parese whom I visit 
in the kitchen, as I have done so often in my childhood years 
when I was hungry, and when my mother used to order me to 
wait until lunch was ready. And now for the dumplings ! 
At least one of my teachers at the University, the very one 
to whom I am indebted for my histological knowledge 
(epidermis), might be reminded by the name Knoedl (German, 
Knoedel = dumplings) of a person whom he had to prosecute 
for committing a plagiarism of his writings. To commit 
plagiarism, to appropriate anything one can get, even though 
it belongs to another, obviously leads to the second part of 
the dream, in which I am treated like a certain overcoat thief, 
who for a time plied his trade in the auditoria. I wrote down 
the expression plagiarism — without any reason — because it 
presented itself to me, and now I perceive that it must belong 
to the latent dream-content, because it will serve as a bridge 
between different parts of the manifest dream-content. The 
chain of associations — Pelagie — plagiarism — plagiostomi f 
(sharks) — fish bladder — connects the old novel with the affair 
of Knoedl and with the overcoats (German, Überzieher = thing 
drawn over — overcoat or condom), which obviously refer to 
an object belonging to the technique of sexual life.t This, it is 
true, is a very forced and irrational connection, but it is 
nevertheless one which I could not establish in waking life 
if it had not been already established by the activity of the 
dream. Indeed, as though nothing were sacred for this 
impulse to force connections, the beloved name, Bruecke 
(bridge of words, see above), now serves to remind me of the 
institution in which I spent my happiest hours as a student, 
quite without any cares ("So you will ever find more pleasure 
at the breasts of knowledge without measure "), in the most 
complete contrast to the urgent desires which vex me while I 
dream. And finally there comes to the surface the recollec- 
tion of another dear teacher, whose name again sounds like 

* Both the emotions which belong to these childish scenes — astonishment 
and resignation to the inevitable — had appeared in a dream shortly before, 
which was the first thing that brought back the memory of this childhood 
experience. 

t I do not elaborate plagiostomi purposely ; they recall an occasion of 
angry disgrace before the same teacher. 

X Of. Maury's dream about kilo-lotto, p. 50. 



174 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

something to eat (Fleischl — German, Fleisch = meat — like 
Knoedl), and of a pathetic scene, in which the scales of epidermis 
play a part (mother — hostess), and insanity (the novel), and 
a remedy from the Latin kitchen which numbs the sensation 
of hunger, to wit, cocaine. 

In this manner I could follow the intricate trains of thought 
still further, and could fully explain the part of the dream 
which is missing in the analysis ; but I must refrain, because 
the personal sacrifices which it would require are too great. 
I shall merely take up one of the threads, which will serve to 
lead us directly to the dream thoughts that he at the bottom 
of the confusion. The stranger, with the long face and 
pointed beard, who wants to prevent me from putting on 
the overcoat, has the features of a tradesman at Spalato, of 
whom my wife made ample purchases of Turkish cloths. His 
name was Popovic, a suspicious name, which, by the way, 
has given the humorist Stettenheim a chance to make a 
significant remark : " He told me his name, and blushingly 
shook my hand." * Moreover, there is the same abuse of 
names as above with Pelagie, Knoedl, Bruecke, Fleischl. 
That such playing with names is childish nonsense can be 
asserted without fear of contradiction ; if I indulge in it, 
this indulgence amounts to an act of retribution, for my own 
name has numberless times fallen a victim to such weak- 
minded attempts at humour. Goethe once remarked how 
sensitive a man is about his name with which, as with his skin, 
he feels that he has grown up, whereupon Herder composed 
the following on his name : 

" Thou who art born of gods, of Goths, or of Kot (mud) — 
Thy godlike images, too, are dust." 

I perceive that this digression about the abuse of names 
was only intended to prepare for this complaint. But let us 
stop here. . . . The purchase at Spalato reminds me of 
another one at Cattaro, where I was too cautious, and missed 
an opportunity for making some desirable acquisitions. 
(Missing an opportunity at the breast of the nurse, see above.) 
Another dream thought, occasioned in the dreamer by the 
sensation of hunger, is as follows : One should let nothing 
* Popo = backside in German nursery language. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 175 

which one can have escape, even if a little wrong is done ; no 
opportunity should be missed, life is so short, death inevitable. 
Owing to the fact that this also has a sexual significance, and 
that desire is unwilling to stop at a wrong, this philosophy 
of carpe diem must fear the censor and must hide behind a 
dream. This now makes articulate counter-thoughts of all 
kinds, recollections of a time when spiritual food alone was 
sufficient for the dreamer ; it suggests repressions of every 
kind, and even threats of disgusting sexual punishments. 

II. A second dream requires a longer preliminary state- 
ment : 

I have taken a car to the West Station in order to begin a 
vacation journey to the Aussee, and I reach the station in 
time for the train to Ischl, which leaves earlier. Here I see 
Count Thun, who is again going to see the Emperor at Ischl. 
In spite of the rain, he has come in an open carriage, has 
passed out at once through the door for local trains, and has 
motioned back the gate-keeper, who does not know him and 
who wants to take his ticket, with a little wave of his hand. 
After the train to Ischl has left, I am told to leave the platform 
and go back into the hot waiting-room ; but with difficulty 
I secure permission to remain. I pass the time in watching 
the people who make use of bribes to secure a compartment ; 
I make up my mind to insist on my rights — that is, to demand 
the same privilege. Meanwhile I sing something to myself, 
which I afterwards recognise to be the aria from Figaro's 
Wedding : 

" If my lord Count wishes to try a dance, 
Try a dance, 
Let him but say so, 
I'll play him a tune." 

(Possibly another person would not have recognised the 
song.) 

During the whole afternoon I have been in an insolent, 
combative mood ; I have spoken roughly to the waiter and 
the cabman, I hope without hurting their feelings ; now all 
kinds of bold and revolutionary thoughts come into my head, 
of a kind suited to the words of Figaro and the comedy of 
Beaumarchais, which I had seen at the Comedie Francaise. 



176 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

The speech about great men who had taken the trouble to be 
born ; the aristocratic prerogative, which Count Almaviva 
wants to apply in the case of Susan ; the jokes which our 
malicious journalists of the Opposition make upon the name 
of Count Thun (German, thun = doing) by calling him Count 
Do-Nothing. I really do not envy him ; he has now a difficult 
mission with the Emperor, and I am the real Count Do-Nothing, 
for I am taking a vacation. With this, all kinds of cheerful 
plans for the vacation. A gentleman now arrives who is 
known to me as a representative of the Government at the 
medical examinations, and who has won the flattering nick- 
name of " Governmental bed-fellow " by his activities in this 
capacity. By insisting on his official station he secures half 
of a first-class compartment, and I hear one guard say to the 
other : " Where are we going to put the gentleman with the 
first-class half -compartment ? " A pretty favouritism ; I 
am paying for a whole first-class compartment. Now I get 
a whole compartment for myself, but not in a through coach, 
so that there is no toilet at my disposal during the night. 
My complaints to the guard are without result ; I get even 
by proposing that at least there be a hole made in the floor of 
this compartment for the possible needs of the travellers. I 
really awake at a quarter of three in the morning with a desire 
to urinate, having had the following dream : 

Crowd of people, meeting of students. . . . A certain 
Count (Thun or Taafe) is making a speech. Upon being asked 
to say something about the Germans, he declares with contemptuous 
mien that their favourite flower is Colfs-foot, and then puts some- 
thing like a torn leaf, really the crumpled skeleton of a leaf, into 
his buttonhole. I make a start, I make a start then* but I am 
surprised at this idea of mine. Then more indistinctly : It 
seems as though it ivere the vestibule (Aida), the exits are jammed, 
as though it ivere necessary to flee. I make my way through a 
suite of handsomely furnished rooms, apparently governmental 
chambers, with furniture of a colour which is between brown and 
violet, and at last I come to a passage where a housekeeper, an 
elderly, fat woman (Frauenzimmer), is seated. I try to avoid 

* This repetition has insinuated itself into the text of the dream appa- 
rently through my absent-mindedness, and I allow it to remain because the 
analysis shows that it has its significance. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 177 

talking to her, but apparently she thinks I have a right to pass 
because she asks whether she shall accompany me with the lamp. 
I signify to her to tell her that she is to remain standing on the 
stairs, and in this I appear to myself very clever, for avoiding 
being watched at last. I am downstairs now, and I find a narrow, 
steep way along which I go. 

Again indistinctly . . . It is as if my second task were to 
get away out of the city, as my earlier was to get out of the house. 
I am riding in a one-horse carriage, and tell the driver to take me 
to a railway station. " I cannot ride with you on the tracks," I 
say, after he has made the objection that I have tired him out. 
Here it seems as though I had already driven with him along a 
course which is ordinarily traversed on the railroad. The stations are 
crowded ; I consider whether I shall go to Krems or to Znaim, but I 
think that the court will be there, and I decide in favour of Graz or 
something of the sort. Now I am seated in the coach, which is some- 
thing like a street-car, and I have in my buttonhole a long braided 
thing, on which are violet-brown violets of stiff material, which 
attracts the attention of many people. Here the scene breaks off. 

I am again in front of the railroad station, but I am with a elderly 
gentleman. I invent a scheme for remaining unrecognised, but I also 
see this plan already carried out. Thinking and experiencing are 
here, as it were, the same thing. He pretends to be blind, at least in 
one eye, and I hold a male urinal in front of him {which we have 
had to buy in the city or did buy), I am thus a sick attendant, and 
have to give him the urinal because he is blind. If the conductor 
sees us in this position, he must pass us by without drawing atten- 
tion. At the same time the attitude of the person mentioned is 
visually observed. Then I awake with a desire to urinate. 

The whole dream seems a sort of phantasy, which takes the 
dreamer back to the revolutionary year 1848, the memory of 
which had been renewed by the anniversary year 1898, as well 
as by a little excursion to Wachau, where I had become ac- 
quainted with Emmersdorf, a town which I wrongly supposed 
to be the resting-place of the student leader Fischof, to whom 
several features of the dream content might refer. The 
thought associations then lead me to England, to the house of 
my brother, who was accustomed jokingly to tell his wife of 
" Fifty years ago," according to the title of a poem by Lord 
Tennyson, whereupon the children were in the habit of 

M 



178 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

correcting : " Fifteen years ago." This phantasy, however, which 
subtilely attaches itself to the thoughts which the sight of the 
Count Thun has given rise to, is only like the facade of Italian 
churches which is superimposed without being organically 
connected with the building behind it ; unlike these facades, 
however, the phantasy is filled with gaps and confused, and 
the parts from within break through at many places. The 
first situation of the dream is concocted from several scenes, 
into which I am able to separate it. The arrogant attitude of 
the Count in the dream is copied from a scene at the Gymnasium 
which took place in my fifteenth year. We had contrived 
a conspiracy against an unpopular and ignorant teacher, the 
leading spirit in which was a schoolmate who seems to have 
taken Henry VIII. of England as his model. It fell to me to 
carry out the coup-d 'dtat, and a discussion of the importance 
of the Danube (German Donau) for Austria (Wachau !) was 
the occasion upon which matters came to open indignation. 
A fellow-conspirator was the only aristocratic schoolmate 
whom we had — he was called the " giraffe " on account of his 
conspicuous longitudinal development — and he stood just like 
the Count in the dream, while he was being reprimanded by 
the tyrant of the school, the Professor of the German language. 
The explanation of the favourite flower and the putting into 
the buttonhole of something which again must have been a 
flower (which recalls the orchids, which I had brought to a 
lady friend on the same day, and besides that the rose of 
Jericho) prominently recalls the scene in Shakespeare's his- 
torical plays which opens the civil wars of the Red and the 
White Roses ; the mention of Henry VIII. has opened the 
way to this reminiscence. It is not very far now from roses 
to red and white carnations. Meanwhile two little rhymes, 
the one German, the other Spanish, insinuate themselves into 
the analysis : " Roses, tulips, carnations, all flowers fade," 
and " Isabelita, no llores que se marchitan las flores." The 
Spanish is taken from Figaro. Here in Vienna white car- 
nations have become the insignia of the Anti-Semites, the 
red ones of the Social Democrats. Behind this is the recollec- 
tion of an anti-Semitic challenge during a railway trip in 
beautiful Saxony (Anglo-Saxon). The third scene contribut- 
ing to the formation of the first situation in the dream takes 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 179 

place in my early student life. There was a discussion in the 
German students' club about the relation of philosophy to the 
general sciences. A green youth, full of the materialistic 
doctrine, I thrust myself forward and defended a very one- 
sided view. Thereupon a sagacious older school-fellow, who 
has since shown his capacity for leading men and organising 
the masses, and who, moreover, bears a name belonging to 
the animal kingdom, arose and called us down thoroughly ; 
he too, he said, had herded swine in his youth, and had come 
back repentant to the house of his father. I started up (as 
in the dream), became very uncivil, and answered that since 
I knew he had herded swine, I was not surprised at the tone of 
his discourse. (In the dream I am surprised at my national 
German sentiment.) There was great commotion ; and the 
demand came from all sides that I take back what I had said, 
but I remained steadfast. The man who had been insulted 
was too sensible to take the advice, which was given him, to 
send a challenge, and let the matter drop. 

The remaining elements of this scene of the dream are of 
more remote origin. What is the meaning of the Count's 
proclaiming the colt's foot ? Here I must consult my train 
of associations. Colt's-foot (German : Huflattich) — lattice — 
lettuce — salad-dog (the dog that grudges others what he cannot 
eat himself). Here plenty of opprobrious epithets may be 
discerned : Gir-afTe (German Affe = monkey, ape), pig, sow, 
dog ; I might even find means to arrive at donkey, on a detour 
by way of a name, and thus again at contempt for an academic 
teacher. Furthermore I translate colt's-foot (Huflattich) — I 
do not know how correctly — by " pisse-en-lit." I got this 
idea from Zola's Germinal, in which children are ordered to 
bring salad of this kind. The dog — chien — has a name sound- 
ing like the major function (chier, as pisser stands for the 
minor one). Now we shall soon have before us the indecent 
in all three of its categories ; for in the same Germinal, which 
has a lot to do with the future revolution there is described 
a very peculiar contest, depending upon the production of 
gaseous excretions, called flatus.* And now I must remark 

* Not in Germinal, but in La Terre — a mistake of which I became aware 
only in the analysis. I may call attention also to the identity of the letters 
in Huflattich and Flatus. 



180 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

how the way to this flatus has been for a long while preparing, 
beginning with the flowers, and proceeding to the Spanish 
rhyme of Isabelita to Ferdinand and Isabella, and, by way of 
Henry VIII., to English history at the time of the expedition 
of the Armada against England, after the victorious termina- 
tion of which the English struck a medal with the in- 
scription : " Afflavit et dissipati sunt," for the storm had 
scattered the Spanish fleet. I had thought of taking this 
phrase for the title of a chapter on " Therapeutics " — to 
be meant half jokingly — if I should ever have occasion to 
give a detailed account of my conception and treatment 
of hysteria. 

I cannot give such a detailed solution of the second scene 
of the dream, out of regard for the censor. For at this point 
I put myself in the place of a certain eminent gentleman of 
that revolutionary period, who also had an adventure with an 
eagle, who is said to have suffered from incontinence of the 
bowels, and the like ; and I believe I should not be justified at 
this point in passing the censor, although it was an aulic 
councillor (aula, consilarius aidicus) who told me the greater 
part of these stories. The allusion to the suite of rooms in 
the dream relates to the private car of his Excellency, into 
which I had opportunity to look for a moment ; but it signifies, 
as so often in dreams, a woman (Frauenzimmer ; German 
Zimmer — room is appended to Frauen — woman, in order to 
imply a slight amount of contempt).* In the person of the 
housekeeper I give scant recognition to an intelligent elderly 
lady for the entertainment and the many good stories which I 
have enjoyed at her house. . . . The feature of the lamp goes 
back to Grillparzer, who notes a charming experience of a 
similar nature, which he afterwards made use of in " Hero and 
Leander " (the billows of the ocean and of love — the Armada 
and the storm ).f 

I must also forgo detailed analysis of the two remaining 
portions of the dream ; I shall select only those elements 

* Translator's note. 

t In his significant work (" Phantasie und Mythos," Jahrbuch für Psycho- 
analyse, Bd. iL, 1910), H. Silberer has endeavoured to show from this part 
of the dream that the dreamwoik is able to reproduce not only the latent 
dream thoughts, but also the psychic processes in the dream formation 
" Das f unctionale Phänomen "). 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 181 

which lead to two childhood scenes, for the sake of which alone 
I have taken up the dream. The reader will guess that it is 
sexual matter which forces me to this suppression ; but he 
need not be content with this explanation. Many things 
which must be treated as secrets in the presence of others are 
not treated as such with one's self, and here it is not a question 
of considerations inducing me to hide the solution, but of 
motives of the inner censor concealing the real content of the 
dream from myself. I may say, then, that the analysis shows 
these three portions of the dream to be impertinent boasting, 
the exuberance of an absurd grandiose idea which has long 
since been suppressed in my waking life, which, however, dares 
show itself in the manifest dream content by one or two pro- 
jections (/ seem clever to myself), and which makes the arrogant 
mood of the evening before the dream perfectly intelligible. 
It is boasting, indeed, in all departments ; thus the mention 
of Graz refers to the phrase : What is the price of Graz % 
which we are fond of using when we feel over-supplied with 
money. Whoever will recall Master Rabelais's unexcelled 
description of the " Life and Deeds of Gargantua and his Son 
Pantagruel," will be able to supply the boastful content inti- 
mated in the first portion of the dream. The following belongs 
to the two childhood scenes which have been promised. I had 
bought a new trunk for this journey, whose colour, a brownish 
violet, appears in the dream several times. (Violet-brown 
violets made of stiff material, next to a thing which is called 
" girl-catcher " — the furniture in the governmental chambers). 
That something new attracts people's attention is a well- 
known belief of children. Now I have been told the following 
story of my childhood ; I remember hearing the story rather 
than the occurrence itself. I am told that at the age of two 
I still occasionally wetted my bed, that I was often reproached 
on this subject, and that I consoled my father by promising 
to buy him a beautiful new red bed in N. (the nearest large 
city). (Hence the detail inserted in the dream that we bought 
the urinal in the city or had to buy it; one must keep one's 
promises. Attention is further called to the identity of the 
male urinal and the feminine trunk, box). All the megalo- 
mania of the child is contained in this promise. The signi- 
ficance of the dream of difficulty in urinating in the case of the 



182 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

child has been already considered in the interpretation of an 
earlier dream (c/. the dream on p. 145). 

Now there was another domestic occurrence, when I was 
seven or eight years old, which I remember very well. One 
evening, before going to bed I had disregarded the dictates of 
discretion not to satisfy my wants in the bedroom of my 
parents and in their presence, and in his reprimand for this 
delinquency my father made the remark : " That boy will 
never amount to anything." It must have terribly mortified 
my ambition, for allusions to this scene return again and again 
in my dreams, and are regularly coupled with enumerations 
of my accomplishments and successes, as though I wanted to 
say : " You see, I have amounted to something after all." 
Now this childhood scene furnishes the elements for the last 
image of the dream, in which of course, the roles are inter- 
changed for the sake of revenge. The elderly man, obviously 
my father, for the blindness in one eye signifies his glaucoma * 
on one side is now urinating before me as I once urinated before 
him. In glaucoma I refer to cocaine, which stood my father in 
good stead in his operation, as though I had thereby fulfilled 
my promises. Besides that I make sport of him ; since he is 
blind I must hold the urinal in front of him, and I gloat over 
allusions to my discoveries in the theory of hysteria, of which 
I am so proud.f 

* Another interpretation : He is one-eyed like Odin, the father of the 
gods . . . Odin's consolation. The consolation in the childish scene, that I 
will buy him a new bed. 

t I here add some material for interpretation. Holding the urinal 
recalls the story of a peasant who tries one glass after another at the opticians, 
but still cannot read (peasant-catcher, like girl-catcher in a portion of the 
dream). The treatment among the peasants of the father who lias become 
weak-minded in Zola's La Terre. The pathetic atonement that in his last 
days the father soils his bed like a child ; hence, also, I am his sick-attendant 
in the dream. Thinking and experiencing are here, as it were ; the same 
thing recalls a highly revolutionary closet drama by Oscar Panizza, in which 
the Godhead is treated quite contemptuously, as though he were a paralytic 
old man. There occurs a passage : " Will and deed are the same thing with 
him, and he must be prevented by his archangel, a kind of Ganymede, from 
scolding and swearing, because these curses would immediately be f'ul tilled." 
Making plans is a reproach against my father, dating from a later period in 
the development of my critical faculty ; just as the whole rebellious, sovereign- 
offending dream, with its scoff at high authority, originates in a revolt against 
my father. The sovereign is called father of the land (Landesvater), and 
the father is the oldest, first and only authority for the child, from the 
absolutism of which the other social authorities have developed in the 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 183 

If the two childhood scenes of urinating are otherwise 
closely connected with the desire for greatness, their rehabilita- 
tion on the trip to the Aussee was further favoured by the 
accidental circumstance that my compartment had no water- 
closet, and that I had to expect embarrassment on the ride as 
actually happened in the morning. I awoke with the sensation 
of a bodily need. I suppose one might be inclined to credit 
these sensations with being the actual stimulus of the dream ; 
I should, however, prefer a different conception — namely, 
that it was the dream thoughts which gave rise to the desire 
to urinate. It is quite unusual for me to be disturbed in sleep 
by any need, at least at the time of this awakening, a quarter 
of four in the morning. I may forestall further objection by 
remarking that I have hardly ever felt a desire to urinate 
after awakening early on other journeys made under more 
comfortable circumstances. Moreover, I can leave this point 
undecided without hurting my argument. 

Since I have learned, further, from experience in dream 
analysis that there always remain important trains of thought 
proceeding from dreams whose interpretation at first seems 
complete (because the sources of the dream and the actuation 
of the wish are easily demonstrable), trains of thought reaching 
back into earliest childhood, I have been forced to ask myself 
whether this feature does not constitute an essential condition 
of dreaming. If I were to generalise this thesis, a connection 
with what has been recently experienced would form a part 

course of the history of human civilisation (in so far as the " mother's right " 
does not force a qualification of this thesis). The idea in the dream, " think- 
ing and experiencing are the same thing," refers to the explanation of 
hysterical symptoms, to which the male urinal (glass) also has a relation. I 
need not explain the principle of the " Gschnas " to a Viennese ; it consists in 
constructing objects of rare and costly appearance out of trifles, and pre- 
ferably out of comical and worthless material — for example, making suits of 
armour out of cooking utensils, sticks and " salzstangeln (elongated rolls), as 
our artists like to do at their jolly parties. I had now learned that hysterical 
subjects do the same thing ; besides what has actually occurred to them, they 
unconsciously conceive horrible or extravagant fantastic images, which they 
construct from the most harmless and commonplace things they have ex- 
perienced. The symptoms depend solely upon these phantasies, not upon 
the memory of their real experiences, be they serious or harmless. This 
explanation helped me to overcome many difficulties and gave me much 
pleasure. I was able to allude to it in the dream element " male urinal " (glass) 
because I had been told that at the last " Gschnas " evening a poison chalice 
of Lucretia Borgia had been exhibited, the chief constituent of which had 
consisted of a glass urinal for men, such as is used in hospitals. 



184 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

of the manifest content of every dream and a connection with 
what has been most remotely experienced, of its latent content ; 
and I can actually show in the analysis of hysteria that in a 
true sense these remote experiences have remained recent up 
to the present time. But this conjecture seems still very 
difficult to prove ; I shall probably have to return to the part 
played by the earliest childhood experiences, in another con- 
nection (Chapter VII.). 

Of the three peculiarities of dream memory considered at 
the beginning, one — the preference for the unimportant in 
the dream content — has been satisfactorily explained by tracing 
it back to dream disfigurement. We have been able to estab- 
lish the existence of the other two — the selection of recent and 
of infantile material — but we have found it impossible to 
explain them by the motive of dream. Let us keep in mind 
these two characteristics, which still remain to be explained 
or evaluated ; a place for them will have to be found else- 
where, either in the psychology of the sleeping state, or in the 
discussion of the structure of the psychic apparatus which we 
shall undertake later, after we have learned that the inner 
nature of the apparatus may be observed through dream 
interpretation as though through a window. 

Just here I may emphasize another result of the last few 
dream analyses. The dream often appears ambiguous ; not 
only may several wish-fulfilments, as the examples show, be 
united in it, but one meaning or one wish-fulfilment may also 
conceal another, until at the bottom one comes upon the 
fulfilment of a wish from the earliest period of childhood ; and 
here too, it may be questioned whether " often " in this sentence 
may not more correctly be replaced by " regularly." 

(c) Somatic Sources of Dreams 

If the attempt be made to interest the cultured layman in 
the problems of dreaming, and if, with this end in view, he be 
asked the question from what source dreams originate according 
to his opinion, it is generally found that the person thus interro- 
gated thinks himself in assured possession of a part of the 
solution. He immediately thinks of the influence which a 
disturbed or impeded digestion (" Dreams come from the 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 185 

stomach "), accidental bodily position, and little occurrences 
during sleep, exercise upon the formation of dreams, and he 
seems not to suspect that even after the consideration of all 
these factors there still remains something unexplained. 

We have explained at length in the introductory chapter 
(p. 16), what a role in the formation of dreams the scientific 
literature credits to the account of somatic exciting sources, 
so that we need here only recall the results of this investiga- 
tion. We have seen that three kinds of somatic exciting 
sources are distinguished, objective sensory stimuli which 
proceed from external objects, the inner states of excitation 
of the sensory organs having only a subjective basis, and the 
bodily stimuli which originate internally ; and we have noticed 
the inclination on the part of the authors to force the psychic 
sources of the dream into the background or to disregard them 
altogether in favour of these somatic sources of stimulation 
(p. 32). 

In testing the claims which are made on behalf of these 
classes of somatic sources of stimulation, we have discovered 
that the significance of the objective stimuli of the sensory 
organs — whether accidental stimuli during sleep or those 
stimuli which cannot be excluded from our dormant psychic 
life — has been definitely established by numerous observations 
and is confirmed by experiments (p. 18) ; we have seen that 
the part played by subjective sensory stimuli appears to be 
demonstrated by the return of hypnogogic sensory images in 
dreams, and that although the referring of these dream images 
and ideas, in the broadest sense, to internal bodily stimulation 
is not demonstrable in every detail, it can be supported by the 
well-known influence which an exciting state of the digestive, 
urinary, and sexual organs exercise upon the contents of our 
dreams. 

" Nerve stimulus " and " bodily stimulus," then, would be 
the somatic sources of the dream — that is, the only sources 
whatever of the dream, according to several authors. 

But we have already found a number of doubts, which seem 
to attack not so much the correctness of the somatic theory of 
stimulation as its adequacy. 

However certain all the representatives of this theory may 
have felt about the actual facts on which it is based — especially 



186 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

in case of the accidental and external nerve stimuli, which 
may be recognised in the content of the dream without any 
trouble — nevertheless none of them has been able to avoid 
the admission that the abundant ideal content of dreams does 
not admit of explanation by external nerve-stimuli alone. 
Miss Mary Whiton Calkins 12 has tested her own dreams and 
those of another person for a period of six weeks with this idea 
in mind, and has found only from 13" 2 per cent, to 6" 7 per cent, 
in which the element of external sensory perception was 
demonstrable ; only two cases in the collection could be re- 
ferred to organic sensations. Statistics here confirm what a 
hasty glance at our own experience might have led us to 
suspect. 

The decision has been made repeatedly to distinguish the 
" dream of nerve stimulus " from the other forms of the 
dream as a well-established sub-species. Spitta 64 divided 
dreams into dreams of nerve stimulus and association dreams. 
But the solution clearly remained unsatisfactory as long as 
the link between the somatic sources of dreams and their 
ideal content could not be demonstrated. 

Besides the first objection, of the inadequate frequency of 
external exciting sources, there arises as a second objection the 
inadequate explanation of dreams offered by the introduction 
of this sort of dream sources. The representatives of the 
theory accordingly must explain two things, in the first place, 
why the external stimulus in the dream is never recognised 
according to its real nature, but is regularly mistaken for 
something else (c/. the alarm-clock dreams, p. 22), and secondly, 
why the reaction of the receiving mind to this misrecognised 
stimulus should result so indeterminately and changefully. 
As an answer to these questions, we have heard from Strümpell 66 
that the mind, as a result of its being turned away from the 
outer world during sleep, is not capable of giving correct inter- 
pretation to the objective sensory stimulus, but is forced to 
form illusions on the basis of the indefinite incitements from 
many directions. As expressed in his own words (p. 108) : 

" As soon as a sensation, a sensational complex, a feeling, 
or a psychic process in general, arises in the mind during sleep 
from an outer or inner nerve-stimulus, and is perceived by the 
mind, this process calls up sensory images, that is to say, 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 187 

earlier perceptions, either unembellished or with the psychic 
values belonging to them, from the range of waking experi- 
ences, of which the mind has remained in possession. It 
seems to collect about itself, as it were, a greater or less number 
of such images, from which the impression which originates 
from the nerve-stimulus receives its psychic value. It is 
usually said here, as the idiom does of waking thought, that 
the mind interprets impressions of nerve-stimuli in sleep. The 
result of this interpretation is the so-called nerve-stimulus 
dream — that is to say, a dream whose composition is con- 
ditioned by the fact that a nerve-stimulus brings about its 
effect in psychic life according to the laws of reproduction." 

The opinion of Wundt 76 agrees in all essentials with this 
theory. He says that the ideas in the dream are probably 
the result, for the most part, of sensory stimuli, especially of 
those of general sensation, and are therefore mostly phantastic 
illusions — probably memory presentations which are only 
partly pure, and which have been raised to hallucinations. 
Strümpell has found an excellent simile (p. 84). It is as " if 
the ten fingers of a person ignorant of music should stray over 
the keyboard of an instrument " — to illustrate the relation 
between dream content and dream stimuli, which follows from 
this theory. The implication is that the dream does not 
appear as a psychic phenomenon, originating from psychic 
motives, but as the result of a physiological stimulus, which is 
expressed in psychic symptomology, because the apparatus 
which is affected by the stimulus is not capable of any other 
expression. Upon a similar assumption is based, for example, 
the explanation of compulsive ideas which Meynert tried to 
give by means of the famous simile of the dial on which in- 
dividual figures are prominent because they are in more 
marked relief. 

However popular this theory of somatic dream stimuli 
may have become, and however seductive it may seem, it is 
nevertheless easy to show the weak point in it. Every 
somatic dream stimulus which provokes the psychic apparatus 
to interpretation through the formation of illusions, is capable 
of giving rise to an incalculable number of such attempts at 
interpretation ; it can thus attain representation in the 
dream content by means of an extraordinary number of 



188 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

different ideas. But the theory of Strümpell and Wundt is 
incapable of instancing any motive which has control over the 
relation between the external stimulus and the dream idea 
which has been selected to interpret it, and therefore of 
explaining the " peculiar choice " which the stimuli " often 
enough make in the course of their reproductive activity " 
(Lipps, Grundtatsachen des Seelenlebens, p. 170). Other ob- 
jections may be directed against the fundamental assumption 
of the whole theory of illusions — the assumption that during 
sleep the mind is not in a condition to recognise the real nature 
of the objective sensory stimuli. The old physiologist Burdach 8 
proves to us that the mind is quite capable even during sleep 
of interpreting correctly the sensory impressions which reach 
it, and of reacting in accordance with the correct interpretation. 
He establishes this by showing that it is possible to exempt 
certain impressions which seem important to the individuals, 
from the neglect of sleeping (nurse and child), and that one is 
more surely awakened by one's own name than by an in- 
different auditory impression, all of which presupposes, of 
course, that the mind distinguishes among sensations, even in 
sleep (Chapter I., p. 41). Burdach infers from these observa- 
tions that it is not an incapability of interpreting sensory 
stimuli in the sleeping state which must be assumed, but a 
lack of interest in them. The same arguments which Burdach 
used in 1830, later reappear unchanged in the works of Lipps 
in the year 1883, where they are employed for the purpose of 
attacking the theory of somatic stimuli. According to this 
the mind seems to be like the sleeper in the anecdote, who, 
upon being asked, " Are you asleep ? " answers " No," and 
upon being again addressed with the words, " Then lend me 
ten florins," takes refuge in the excuse : " I am asleep." 

The inadequacy of the theory of somatic dream stimuli 
may also be demonstrated in another manner. Observations 
show that I am not urged to dream by external stimulations, 
even if these stimulations appear in the dream as soon as, and 
in case that, I dream. In response to the tactile or pressure 
stimulus which I get while sleeping, various reactions are at 
my disposal. I can overlook it and discover only upon awaken- 
ing that my leg has been uncovered or my arm under pressure ; 
pathology shows the most numerous examples where power- 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 189 

fully acting sensory and motor stimuli of different sorts remain 
without effect during sleep. I can perceive a sensation during 
sleep through and through sleep, as it were, which happens 
as a rule with painful stimuli, but without weaving the pain 
into the texture of the dream ; thirdly, I can awaken on 
account of the stimulus in order to obviate it. Only as a fourth 
possible reaction, I may be impelled to dream by a nerve 
stimulus ; but the other possibilities are realised at least as 
often as that of dream formation. This could not be the case 
if the motive for dreaming did not lie outside of the somatic 
sources of dreams. 

Taking proper account of the defect in the explanation of 
dreams by somatic stimuli which has just been shown, other 
authors — Scherner, 58 who was joined by the philosopher 
Volkelt 72 — have tried to determine more exactly the psychic 
activities which cause the variegated dream images to arise 
from the somatic stimuli, and have thus transferred the 
essential nature of dreams back to the province of the mind, 
and to that of psychic activity. Schemer not only gave a 
poetically appreciative, glowing and vivid description of the 
psychic peculiarities which develop in the course of dream 
formation ; he also thought he had guessed the principle 
according to which the mind proceeds with the stimuli that 
are at its disposal. The dream activity, according to Schemer 
— after phantasy has been freed from the shackles imposed 
upon it during the day, and has been given free rein — strives 
to represent symbolically the nature of the organ from which 
the stimulus proceeds. Thus we have a kind of dream-book 
as a guide for the interpretation of dreams, by means of which 
bodily sensations, the conditions of the organs and of the 
stimuli may be inferred from dream images. " Thus the 
image of a cat expresses an angry discontented mood, the 
image of a light-coloured bit of smooth pastry the nudity of 
the body. The human body as a whole is pictured as a house 
by the phantasy of the dream, and each individual organ of 
the body as a part of the house. In ' toothache-dreams ' a 
high vaulted vestibule corresponds to the mouth and a stair 
to the descent of the gullet to the alimentary canal ; in the 
' headache-dream ' the ceiling of a room which is covered 
with disgusting reptile-like spiders is chosen to denote the 



190 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

upper part of the head " (Volkelt, p. 39). " Several different 
symbols are used by the dream for the same organ, thus the 
breathing lungs find their symbol in an oven filled with flames 
and with a roaring draught, the heart in hollow chests and 
baskets, and the bladder in round, bag-shaped objects or 
anything else hollow. It is especially important that at the 
end of a dream the stimulating organ or its function be repre- 
sented undisguised and usually on the dreamer's own body. 
Thus the ' toothache-dream ' usually ends by the dreamer 
drawing a tooth from his own mouth " (p. 35). It cannot be 
said that this theory has found much favour with the authors. 
Above all, it seems extravagant ; there has been no inclination 
even to discover the small amount of justification to which it 
may, in my opinion, lay claim. As may be seen, it leads tcna — 
revival of the dream interpretation by means of symbolism, 
which the ancients used, except that the source from which 
the interpretation is to be taken is limited to the human body. 
The lack of a technique of interpretation which is scientifically 
comprehensible must seriously limit the applicability of 
Schemer's theory. Arbitrariness in dream interpretation 
seems in no wise excluded, especially since a stimulus may be 
expressed by several representations in the content of the 
dream ; thus Schemer's associate, Volkelt, has already found 
it impossible to confirm the representation of the body as a 
house. Another objection is that here again dream activity 
is attributed to the mind as a useless and aimless activity, 
since according to the theory in question the mind is content 
with forming phantasies about the stimulus with which it is 
concerned, without even remotely contemplating anything 
like a discharge of the stimulus. 

But Schemer's theory of the symbolisation of bodily stimuli 
by the dream receives a heavy blow from another objection. 
These bodily stimuli are present at all times, and according to 
general assumption the mind is more accessible to them during 
sleep than in waking. It is thus incomprehensible why the 
mind does not dream continually throughout the night, and 
why it does not dream every night and about all the organs. 
If one attempts to avoid this objection by making the condition 
that especial stimuli must proceed from the eye, the ear, the 
teeth, the intestines in order to arouse dream activity, one is 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 191 

confronted by the difficulty of proving that this increase of 
stimulation is objective, which is possible only in a small 
number of cases. If the dream of flying is a symbolisation 
of the upward and downward motion of the pulmonary lobes, 
either this dream, as has already been remarked by Strümpell, 
would be dreamt much oftener, or an accentuation of the 
function of breathing during the dream would have to be 
demonstrable. Still another case is possible — the most 
probable of all — that now and then special motives directing 
attention to the visceral sensations which are universally 
present are active, but this case takes us beyond the range of 
Schemer's theory. 

The value of Schemer's and Volkelt's discussions lies in 
the fact that they call attention to a number of characteristics 
of the dream content which are in need of explanation, and 
which seem to promise new knowledge. It is quite true that 
symbolisations of organs of the body and of their functions 
are contained in dreams, that water in a dream often signifies 
a desire to urinate, that the male genital may often be repre- 
sented by a staff standing erect or by a pillar, &c. In dreams 
which show a very animated field of vision and brilliant 
colours, in contrast to the dimness of other dreams, the inter- 
pretation may hardly be dismissed that they are " dreams of 
visual stimulation," any more than it may be disputed that 
there is a contribution of illusory formations in dreams which 
contain noise and confusion of voices. A dream like that of 
Schemer, of two rows of fair handsome boys standing opposite 
to each other on a bridge, attacking each other and then 
taking their places again, until finally the dreamer himself 
sits down on the bridge and pulls a long tooth out of his jaw ; 
or a similar one of Volkelt's, in which two rows of drawers play 
a part, and which again ends in the extraction of a tooth ; 
dream formations of this sort, which are related in great 
numbers by the authors, prevent our discarding Schemer's 
theory as an idle fabrication without seeking to find its kernel 
of truth. We are now confronted by the task of giving the 
supposed symbolisation of the dental stimulus an explanation 
of a different kind. 

Throughout our consideration of the theory of the somatic 
sources of dreams, I have refrained from urging the argument 



192 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

which is inferred from our dream analyses. If we have suc- 
ceeded in proving, by a procedure which other authors have 
not applied in their investigation of dreams, that the dream 
as a psychic action possesses value peculiar to itself, that a 
wish supplies the motive for its formation, and that the experi- 
ences of the previous day furnish the immediate material for 
its content, any other theory of dreams neglecting such an 
important method of investigation, and accordingly causing 
the dream to appear a useless and problematic psychic reaction 
to somatic stimuli, is dismissible without any particular 
comment. Otherwise there must be — which is highly im- 
probable — two entirely different kinds of dreams, of which 
only one has come under our observation, while only the 
other has been observed by the earlier connoisseurs of the 
dream. It still remains to provide a place for the facts which 
are used to support the prevailing theory of somatic dream- 
stimuli, within our own theory of dreams. 

We have already taken the first step in this direction in 
setting up the thesis that the dream activity is under a com- 
pulsion to elaborate all the dream stimuli which are simul- 
taneously present into a unified whole (p. 151). We have 
seen that when two or more experiences capable of making 
an impression have been left over from the previous day, the 
wishes which result from them are united into one dream ; 
similarly, that an impression possessing psychic value and the 
indifferent experiences of the previous day are united in the 
dream material, provided there are available connecting ideas 
between the two. Thus the dream appears to be a reaction to 
everything which is simultaneously present as actual in the 
sleeping mind. As far as we have hitherto analysed the 
dream material, we have discovered it to be a collection of 
psychic remnants and memory traces, which we were obliged 
to credit (on account of the preference shown for recent and 
infantile material) with a character of actuality, though the 
nature of this was not at the time determinable. Now it will 
not be difficult to foretell what will happen when new material 
in the form of sensations is added to these actualities of 
memory. These stimuli likewise derive importance for the 
dream because they are actual ; they are united with the 
other psychic actualities in order to make up the material for 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 193 

dream formation. To express it differently, the stimuli 
which appear during sleep are worked over into the fulfilment 
of a wish, the other component parts of which are the remnants 
of daily experience with which we are familiar. This union, 
however, is not inevitable ; we have heard that more than one 
sort of attitude towards bodily stimuli is possible during sleep. 
Wherever this union has been brought about, it has simply 
been possible to find for the dream content that kind of pre- 
sentation material which will give representation to both 
classes of dream sources, the somatic as well as the psychic. 

The essential nature of the dream is not changed by this 
addition of somatic material to the psychic sources of the 
dream ; it remains the fulfilment of a wish without reference 
to the way in which its expression is determined by the actual 
material. 

I shall gladly find room here for a number of peculiarities, 
which serve to put a different face on the significance of exter- 
nal stimuli for the dream. I imagine that a co-operation of 
individual, physiological, and accidental factors, conditioned 
by momentary circumstances, determines how one will act in 
each particular case of intensive objective stimulation during 
sleep ; the degree of the profoundness of sleep whether habitual 
or accidental in connection with the intensity of the stimulus, 
will in one case make it possible to suppress the stimulus, so 
that it will not disturb sleep ; in another case they will force 
an awakening or will support the attempt to overcome the 
stimulus by weaving it into the texture of the dream. In 
correspondence with the multiplicity of these combinations, 
external objective stimuli will receive expression more frequently 
in the case of one person than in that of another. In the case 
of myself, who am an excellent sleeper, and who stubbornly 
resists any kind of disturbance in sleep, this intermixture of 
external causes of irritation into my dreams is very rare, while 
psychic motives apparently cause me to dream very easily. 
I have indeed noted only a single dream in which an objective, 
painful source of stimulation is demonstrable, and it will be 
highly instructive to see what effect the external stimulus had 
in this very dream. 

/ am riding on a grey horse, at first timidly and awkwardly, 
as though I were only leaning against something. I meet a 

N 



194 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

colleague P., who is mounted on a horse and is wearing a heavy 
woollen suit ; he calls my attention to something (probably to the 
fact that my riding position is bad). Now I become more and 
more expert on the horse, which is most intelligent; I sit com- 
fortably, and I notice that I am already quite at home in the 
saddle. For a saddle I have a kind of padding, which completely 
fills the space between the neck and the rump of the horse. In 
this manner I ride with difficulty between two lumber-wagons. 
After having ridden up the street for some distance, I turn around 
and want to dismount, at first in front of a little open chapel, 
which is situated close to the street. Then I actually dismount in 
front of a chapel which stands near the first ; the hotel is in the 
same street, I could let the horse go there by itself, but I prefer to 
lead it there. It seems as if I should be ashamed to arrive there 
on horseback. In front of the hotel is standing a hall-boy who 
shows me a card of mine which has been found, and who ridicules 
me on account of it. On the card is written, doubly underlined, 
" Eat nothing," and then a second sentence (indistinct) something 
like " Do not work " ; at the same time a hazy idea that I am in a 
strange city, in which I do no work. 

It will not be apparent at once that this dream originated 
under the influence, or rather under the compulsion, of a 
stimulus of pain. The day before I had suffered from furuncles, 
which made every movement a torture, and at last a furuncle 
had grown to the size of an apple at the root of the scrotum, 
and had caused me the most intolerable pains that accom- 
panied every step ; a feverish lassitude, lack of appetite, and 
the hard work to which I had nevertheless kept myself during 
the day, had conspired with the pain to make me lose my 
temper. I was not altogether in a condition to discharge my 
duties as a physician, but in view of the nature and the location 
of the malady, one might have expected some performance 
other than riding, for which I was very especially unfitted. 
It is this very activity, of riding into which I am plunged by 
the dream ; it is the most energetic denial of the suffering 
which is capable of being conceived. In the first place, I do 
not know how to ride, I do not usually dream of it, and I 
never sat on a horse but once — without a saddle — and then I 
did not feel comfortable. But in this dream I ride as though 
I 'had no furuncle on the perineum, and why ? just because I 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 195 

don't want any. According to the description my saddle is 
the poultice which has made it possible for me to go to sleep. 
Probably I did not feel anything of my pain — as I was thus 
taken care of — during the first few hours of sleeping. Then 
the painful sensations announced themselves and tried to 
wake me up, whereupon the dream came and said soothingly : 
" Keep on sleeping, you won't wake up anyway ! You have 
no furuncle at all, for you are riding on a horse, and with a 
furuncle where you have it riding is impossible ! " And the 
dream was successful ; the pain was stifled, and I went on 
sleeping. 

But the dream was not satisfied with " suggesting away " 
the furuncle by means of tenaciously adhering to an idea 
incompatible with that of the malady, in doing which it behaved 
like the hallucinatory insanity of the mother who has lost her 
child, or like the merchant who has been deprived of his 
fortune by losses.* In addition the details of the denied 
sensation and of the image which is used to displace it are 
employed by the dream as a means to connect the material 
ordinarily actually present in the mind with the dream situa- 
tion, and to give this material representation. I am riding 
on a grey horse — the colour of the horse corresponds exactly 
to the pepper-and-salt costume in which I last met my colleague 
P. in the country. I have been warned that highly seasoned 
food is the cause of furunculosis, but in any case it is preferable 
as an etiological explanation to sugar which ordinarily suggests 
furunculosis. My friend P. has been pleased to " ride the high 
horse " with regard to me, ever since he superseded me in the 
treatment of a female patient, with whom I had performed 
great feats (in the dream I first sit on the horse side-saddle 
fashion, like a circus rider), but who really led me wherever 
she wished, like the horse in the anecdote about the Sunday 
equestrian. Thus the horse came to be a symbolic representa- 
tion of a lady patient (in the dream it is most intelligent). 
" I feel quite at home up here," refers to the position which I 
occupied in the patient's household until I was replaced by my 
colleague P. "I thought you were securely seated in the 

* Of. the passage in Griesinger 31 and the remarks in my second essay on 
the ""defence-neuropsychoses" — Selected Papers on Hysteria, translated by 
A. A. Brill. t j , y 



196 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

saddle," one of my few well-wishers among the great physicians 
of this city recently said to me with reference to the same 
household. And it was a feat to practise psychotherapy for 
ten hours a day with such pains, but I know that I cannot 
continue my particularly difficult work for any length of time 
without complete physical health, and the dream is full of 
gloomy allusions to the situation which must in that case 
result (the card such as neurasthenics have and present to 
doctors) : No work and no food. With further interpretation 
I see that the dream activity has succeeded in finding the 
way from the wish-situation of riding to very early infantile 
scenes of quarrelling, which must have taken place between 
me and my nephew, who is now living in England, and who, 
moreover, is a year older than I. Besides it has taken up 
elements from my journeys to Italy ; the street in the dream 
is composed of impressions of Verona and Siena. Still more 
exhaustive interpretation leads to sexual dream-thoughts, 
and I recall what significance dream allusions to that beautiful 
country had in the case of a female patient who had never been 
in Italy (Itlay — German gen Italien — Genitalien — genitals). 
At the same time there are references to the house in which I 
was physician before my friend P., and to the place where the 
furuncle is located. 

Among the dreams mentioned in the previous chapter 
there are several which might serve as examples for the elabora- 
tion of so-called nerve stimuli. The dream about drinking in 
full draughts is one of this sort ; the somatic excitement in it 
seems to be the only source of the dream, and the wish resulting 
from the sensation — thirst — the only motive for dreaming. 
Something similar is true of the other simple dreams, if the 
somatic excitement alone is capable of forming a wish. The 
dream of the sick woman who throws the cooling apparatus 
from her cheek at night is an instance of a peculiar way of 
reacting to painful excitements with a wish-fulfilment ; it 
seems as though the patient had temporarily succeeded in 
making herself analgesic by ascribing her pains to a stranger. 

My dream about the three Parese is obviously a dream of 
hunger, but it has found means to refer the need for food back 
to the longing of the child for its mother's breast, and to make 
the harmless desire a cloak for a more serious one, which is 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 197 

not permitted to express itself so openly. In the dream about 
Count Thun we have seen how an accidental bodily desire is 
brought into connection with the strongest, and likewise the 
most strongly suppressed emotions of the psychic life. And 
when the First Consul incorporates the sound of an exploding 
bomb into a dream of battle before it causes him to wake, as 
in the case reported by Gamier, the purpose for which psychic 
activity generally concerns itself with sensations occurring 
during sleep is revealed with extraordinary clearness. A young 
lawyer, who has been deeply preoccupied with his first great 
bankruptcy proceeding, and who goes to sleep during the 
afternoon following, acts just like the great Napoleon. He 
dreams about a certain G. Reich in Hussiatyn (German husten — 
to cough), whom he knows in connection with the bankruptcy 
proceeding, but Hussiatyn forces itself upon his attention still 
further, with the result that he is obliged to awaken, and hears 
his wife — who is suffering from bronchial catarrh — coughing 
violently. 

Let us compare the dream of Napoleon I., who, incidentally, 
was an excellent sleeper, with that of the sleepy student, who 
was awakened by his landlady with the admonition that he 
must go to the hospital, who thereupon dreams himself into 
a bed in the hospital, and then sleeps on, with the following 
account of his motives : If I am already in the hospital, I 
shan't have to get up in order to go there. The latter is 
obviously a dream of convenience ; the sleeper frankly admits 
to himself the motive for his dreaming ; but he thereby 
reveals one of the secrets of dreaming in general. In a certain 
sense all dreams are dreams of convenience ; they serve the 
purpose of continuing sleep instead of awakening. The dream 
is the guardian of sleep, not the disturber of it. We shaE justify 
this conception with respect to the psychic factors of awakening 
elsewhere ; it is possible, however, at this point to prove its 
applicability to the influence exerted by objective external 
excitements. Either the mind does not concern itself at all 
with the causes of sensations, if it is able to do this in spite of 
their intensity and of their significance, which is well understood 
by it ; or it employs the dream to deny these stimuli ; or 
thirdly, if it is forced to recognise the stimulus, it seeks to find 
that interpretation of the stimulus which shall represent the 



198 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

actual sensation as a component part of a situation which is 
desired and which is compatible with sleep. The actual sen- 
sation is woven into the dream in order to deprive it of its 
reality. Napoleon is permitted to go on sleeping ; it is only a 
dream recollection of the thunder of the cannon at Arcole 
which is trying to disturb him.* 

The wish to sleep, by which the conscious ego has been sus- 
pended and which along with the dream-censor contributes its 
share to the dream, must thus always be taken into account as a 
motive for the formation of dreams, and every successful dream 
is a fulfilment of this wish. The relation of this general, re- 
gularly present, and invariable sleep-wish to the other wishes, 
of which now the one, now the other is fulfilled, will be the 
subject of a further explanation. In the wish to sleep we 
have discovered a factor capable of supplying the deficiency 
in the theory of Strümpell and Wundt, and of explaining the 
perversity and capriciousness in the interpretation of the 
outer stimulus. The correct interpretation, of which the 
sleeping mind is quite capable, would imply an active interest 
and would require that sleep be terminated ; hence, of those 
interpretations which are possible at all, only those are ad- 
mitted which are agreeable to the absolute censorship of the 
somatic wish. It is something like this : It's the nightingale 
and not the lark. For if it's the lark, love's night is at an 
end. From among the interpretations of the excitement 
which are at the moment possible, that one is selected which 
can secure the best connection with the wish-possibilities that 
are lying in wait in the mind. Thus everything is definitely 
determined, and nothing is left to caprice. The misinter- 
pretation is not an illusion, but — if you will — an excuse. 
Here again, however, there is admitted an action which is a 
modification of the normal psychic procedure, as in the case 
where substitution by means of displacement is effected for 
the purposes of the dream-censor. 

If the outer nerve stimuli and inner bodily stimuli are 
sufficiently intense to compel psychic attention, they represent 
— that is, in case they result in dreaming and not in awakening 
— a definite point in the formation of dreams, a nucleus in the 

* In the two sources from which I am acquainted with this dream, the 
report of its contents do not agree. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 199 

dream material, for which an appropriate wish-fulfilment is 
sought, in a way similar (see above) to the search for connecting 
ideas between two dream stimuli. To this extent it is true 
for a number of dreams that the somatic determines what their 
content is to be. In this extreme case a wish which is not 
exactly actual is aroused for the purpose of dream formation. 
But the dream can do nothing but represent a wish in a situa- 
tion as fulfilled ; it is, as it were, confronted by the task of 
seeking what wish may be represented and fulfilled by means 
of the situation which is now actual. Even if this actual 
material is of a painful or disagreeable character, still it is not 
useless for the purposes of dream formation. The psychic 
life has control even over wishes the fulfilment of which brings 
forth pleasure — a statement which seems contradictory, but 
which becomes intelligible if one takes into account the presence 
of two psychic instances and the censor existing between 
them. 

There are in the psychic life, as we have heard, repressed 
wishes which belong to the first system, and to whose fulfilment 
the second system is opposed. There are wishes of this kind — 
and we do not mean this in an historic sense, that there have 
been such wishes and that these have then been destroyed — 
but the theory of repression, which is essential to the study of 
psychoneurosis, asserts that such repressed wishes still exist, 
contemporaneously with an inhibition weighing them down. 
Language has hit upon the truth when it speaks of the " sup- 
pression " of such impulses. The psychic contrivance for 
bringing such wishes to realisation remains preserved and in a 
condition to be used. But if it happens that such a suppressed 
wish is fulfilled, the vanquished inhibition of the second 
system (which is capable of becoming conscious) is then ex- 
pressed as a painful feeling. To close this discussion ; if 
sensations of a disagreeable character which originate from 
somatic sources are presented during sleep, this constellation 
is taken advantage of by the dream activity to represent the 
fulfilment — with more or less retention of the censor — of an 
otherwise suppressed wish. 

This condition of affairs makes possible a number of anxiety 
dreams, while another series of the dream formations which 
are unfavourable to the wish theory exhibits a different 



200 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

mechanism. For anxiety in dreams may be of a psycho- 
neurotic nature, or it may originate in psychosexual excite- 
ments, in which case the anxiety corresponds to a repressed 
libido. Then this anxiety as well as the whole anxiety dream 
has the significance of a neurotic symptom, and we are at the 
dividing-line where the wish-fulfilling tendency of dreams 
disappears. But in other anxiety-dreams the feeling of anxiety 
comes from somatic sources (for instance in the case of persons 
suffering from pulmonary or heart trouble, where there is 
occasional difficulty in getting breath), and then it is used to 
aid those energetically suppressed wishes in attaining fulfil- 
ment in the form of a dream, the dreaming of which from 
psychic motives would have resulted in the same release of 
fear. It is not difficult to unite these two apparently dis- 
crepant cases. Of two psychic formations, an emotional 
inclination and an ideal content, which are intimately con- 
nected, the one, which is presented as actual, supports the 
other in the dream ; now anxiety of somatic origin supports 
the suppressed presentation content, now the ideal content, 
which is freed from suppression, and which proceeds with the 
impetus given by sexual emotion, assists the discharge of 
anxiety. Of the one case it may be said that an emotion of 
somatic origin is psychically interpreted ; in the other case 
everything is of psychic origin but the content which has been 
suppressed is easily replaced by a somatic interpretation which 
is suited to anxiety. The difficulties which lie in the way of 
understanding all this have little to do with the dream ; they 
are due to the fact that in discussing these points we are 
touching upon the problems of the development of anxiety 
and of repression. 

Undoubtedly the aggregate of bodily feelings is to be 
included among the commanding dream stimuli which originate 
internally. Not that it is able to furnish the dream content, 
but it forces the dream thoughts to make a choice from the 
material destined to serve the purpose of representation in the 
dream content ; it does this by putting within easy reach 
that part of the material which is suited to its own character, 
while withholding the other. Moreover this general feeling, 
which is left over from the day, is probably connected with the 
psychic remnants which are significant for the dream. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 201 

If somatic sources of excitement occurring during sleep — 
that is, the sensations of sleep — are not of unusual intensity, 
they play a part in the formation of dreams similar, in my 
judgment, to that of the impressions of the day which have 
remained recent but indifferent. I mean that they are drawn 
into the dream formation, if they are qualified for being united 
with the presentation content of the psychic dream-source, 
but in no other case. They are treated as a cheap ever-ready 
material, which is utilised as often as it is needed, instead of 
prescribing, as a precious material does, the manner in which 
it is to be utilised. The case is similar to that where a patron 
of art brings to an artist a rare stone, a fragment of onyx, in 
order that a work of art may be made of it. The size of the 
stone, its colour, and its marking help to decide what bust or 
what scene shall be represented in it, while in the case where 
there is a uniform and abundant supply of marble or sandstone 
the artist follows only the idea which takes shape in his mind. 
Only in this manner, it seems to me, is the fact explicable 
that the dream content resulting from bodily excitements 
that have not been accentuated to a usual degree, does not 
appear in all dreams and during every night. 

Perhaps an example, which takes us back to the interpreta- 
tion of dreams, will best illustrate my meaning. One day I 
was trying to understand the meaning of the sensations of 
being impeded, of not being able to move from the spot, of 
not being able to get finished, &c, which are dreamt about so 
often, and which are so closely allied to anxiety. That night 
I had the following dream : / am very incompletely dressed, 
and I go from a dwelling on the ground floor up a flight of stairs 
to an upper story. In doing this I jump over three steps at a 
time, and I am glad to find I can mount the steps so quickly. 
Suddenly I see that a servant girl is coming down the stairs, 
that is, towards me. I am ashamed and try to hurry away, and 
now there appears that sensation of being impeded ; I am glued 
to the steps and cannot move from the spot. 

Analysis : The situation of the dream is taken from every- 
day reality. In a house in Vienna I have two apartments, 
which are connected only by a flight of stairs outside. My 
consultation-rooms and my study are on an elevated portion 
of the ground floor, and one story higher are my living-rooms. 



202 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

When I have finished my work downstairs late at night, I 
go up the steps into my bedroom. On the evening before the 
dream I had actually gone this short distance in a somewhat 
disorderly attire — that is to say, I had taken off my collar, 
cravat, and cuffs ; but in the dream this has changed into a 
somewhat more advanced degree of undress, which as usual 
is indefinite. Jumping over the steps is my usual method of 
mounting stairs ; moreover it is the fulfilment of a wish that 
has been recognised in the dream, for I have reassured myself 
about the condition of my heart action by the ease of this 
accomplishment. Moreover the manner in which I climb the 
stairs is an effective contrast to the sensation of being impeded 
which occurs in the second half of the dream. It shows me — 
something which needed no proof — that the dream has no 
difficulty in representing motor actions as carried out fully 
and completely ; think of flying in dreams ! 

But the stairs which I go up are not those of my house ; at 
first I do not recognise them ; only the person coming toward 
me reveals to me the location which they are intended to 
signify. This woman is the maid of the old lady whom I 
visit twice daily to give hypodermic injections ; the stairs, 
too, are quite similar to those which I must mount there twice 
daily. 

How do this flight of stairs and this woman get into my 
dream ? Being ashamed because one is not fully dressed, is 
undoubtedly of a sexual character ; the servant of whom I 
dream is older than I, sulky, and not in the least attractive. 
These questions call up exactly the following occurrences : 
When I make my morning visit at this house I am usually 
seized with a desire to clear my throat ; the product of the 
expectoration falls upon the steps. For there is no spittoon 
on either of these floors, and I take the view that the stairs 
should not be kept clean at my expense, but by the provision 
of a spittoon. The housekeeper, likewise an elderly and sulky 
person, with instincts for cleanliness, takes another view of 
the matter. She lies in wait for me to see whether I take 
the liberty referred to, and when she has made sure of it, I 
hear her growl distinctly. For days thereafter she refuses to 
show me her customary regard when we meet. On the day 
before the dream the position of the housekeeper had been 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 203 

strengthened by the servant girl. I had just finished my usual 
hurried visit to the patient when the servant confronted me in 
the ante-room and observed : " You might as well have wiped 
your shoes to-day, doctor, before you came into the room. 
The red carpet is all dirty again from your feet." This is the 
whole claim which the flight of stairs and the servant-girl 
can make for appearing in my dream. 

An intimate connection exists between my flying over the 
stairs and my spitting on the stairs. Pharyngitis and diseases 
of the heart are both said to be punishments for the vice of 
smoking, on account of which vice, of course, I do not enjoy a 
reputation for great neatness with my housekeeper in the one 
house any more than in the other, both of which the dream 
fuses into a single image. 

I must postpone the further interpretation of this dream 
until I can give an account of the origm of the typical dream of 
incomplete dress. I only note as a prehminary result from 
the dream which has just been cited that the dream sensation 
of inhibited action is always aroused at a point where a certain 
connection requires it. A peculiar condition of my motility 
during sleep cannot be the cause of this dream content, for a 
moment before I saw myself hurrying over the steps with ease, 
as though in confirmation of this fact. 

(d) Typical Dreams 

In general we are not in a position to interpret the dream of 
another person if he is unwilling to furnish us with the uncon- 
scious thoughts which lie behind the dream content, and for 
this reason the practical applicability of our method of dream 
interpretation is seriously curtailed.* But there are a certain 
number of dreams — in contrast with the usual freedom dis- 
played by the individual in fashioning his dream world with 
characteristic peculiarity, and thereby making it unintelligible 
— which almost every one has dreamed in the same manner, 
and of which we are accustomed to assume that they have 
the same significance in the case of every dreamer. A peculiar 

* An exception is furnished by those cases in which the dreamer utilises 
in the expression of his latent dream thoughts the symbols which are 
familiar to us. 



204 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

interest belongs to these typical dreams for the reason that 
they probably all come from the same sources with every 
person, that they are thus particularly suited to give us 
information upon the sources of dreams. 

Typical dreams are worthy of the most exhaustive investi- 
gation. I shall, however, only give a somewhat detailed con- 
sideration to examples of this species, and for this purpose I 
shall first select the so-called embarrassment dream of naked- 
ness, and the dream of the death of dear relatives. 

The dream of being naked or scantily clad in the presence 
of strangers occurs with the further addition that one is not 
at all ashamed of it, &c. But the dream of nakedness is worthy 
of our interest only when shame and embarrassment are felt 
in it, when one wishes to flee or to hide, and when one feels the 
strange inhibition that it is impossible to move from the spot 
and that one is incapable of altering the disagreeable situation. 
It is only in this connection that the dream is typical ; the 
nucleus of its content may otherwise be brought into all kinds 
of relations or may be replaced by individual amplifications. 
It is essentially a question of a disagreeable sensation of the 
nature of shame, the wish to be able to hide one's nakedness, 
chiefly by means of locomotion, without being able to accom- 
plish this. I believe that the great majority of my readers 
will at some time have found themselves in this situation in a 
dream. 

Usually the nature and maimer of the experience is indis- 
tinct. It is usually reported, " I was in my shirt," but this 
is rarely a clear image ; in most cases the lack of clothing is so 
indeterminate that it is designated in the report of the dream 
by a set of alternatives : "I was in my chemise or in my 
petticoat." As a rule the deficiency in the toilet is not serious 
enough to justify the feeling of shame attached to it. For a 
person who has served in the army, nakedness is often replaced 
by a mode of adjustment that is contrary to regulations. " I 
am on the street without my sabre and I see officers coming," 
or " I am without my necktie," or " I am wearing checkered 
civilian's trousers," &c. 

The persons before whom one is ashamed are almost always 
strangers with faces that have been left undetermined. It 
never occurs in the typical dream that one is reproved or even 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 205 

noticed on account of the dress which causes the embarrass- 
ment to one's self. Quite on the contrary, the people have an 
air of indifference, or, as I had opportunity to observe in a 
particularly clear dream, they look stiffly solemn. This is 
worth thinking about. 

The shamed embarrassment of the dreamer and the in- 
difference of the spectators form a contradiction which often 
occurs in the dream. It would better accord with the feelings 
of the dreamer if the strangers looked at him in astonishment 
and laughed at him, or if they grew indignant. I think, 
however, that the latter unpleasant feature has been obviated 
by the tendency to wish-fulfilment, while the embarrassment, 
being retained on some account or other, has been left standing, 
and thus the two parts fail to agree. We have interesting 
evidence to show that the dream, whose appearance has been 
partially disfigured by the tendency to wish-fulfilment, has not 
been properly understood. For it has become the basis of a 
fairy tale familiar to us all in Andersen's version,* and it has 
recently received poetic treatment by L. Fulda in the Talisman. 
In Andersen's fairy tale we are told of two impostors who 
weave a costly garment for the Emperor, which, however, shall 
be visible only to the good and true. The Emperor goes forth 
clad in this invisible garment, and, the fabric serving as a sort 
of touchstone, all the people are frightened into acting as 
though they did not notice the nakedness of the Emperor. 

But such is the situation in our dream. It does not require 
great boldness to assume that the unintelligible dream content 
has suggested the invention of a state of undress in which the 
situation that is being remembered becomes significant. This 
situation has then been deprived of its original meaning, and 
placed at the service of other purposes. But we shall see 
that such misunderstanding of the dream content often occurs 
on account of the conscious activity of the second psychic 
system, and is to be recognised as a factor in the ultimate 
formation of the dream ; furthermore, that in the develop- 
ment of the obsessions and phobias similar misunderstandings, 
likewise within the same psychic personality, play a leading 
part. The source from which in our dream the material 
for this transformation is taken can also be explained. The 
* " The Emperor's New Clothes." 



206 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

impostor is the dream, the Emperor is the dreamer himself, and 
the moralising tendency betrays a hazy knowledge of the fact 
that the latent dream content is occupied with forbidden 
wishes which have become the victims of repression. The 
connection in which such dreams appear during my analysis 
of neurotics leaves no room for doubting that the dream is 
based upon a recollection from earliest childhood. Only in 
our childhood was there a time when we were seen by our 
relatives as well as by strange nurses, servant girls, and visitors, 
in scanty clothing, and at that time we were not ashamed of 
our nakedness.* 

It may be observed in the case of children who are a little 
older that being undressed has a kind of intoxicating effect 
upon them, instead of making them ashamed. They laugh, 
jump about, and strike their bodies ; the mother, or whoever 
is present, forbids them to do this, and says : " Fie, that is 
shameful — you mustn't do that." Children often show ex- 
hibitional cravings ; it is hardly possible to go through a 
village in our part of the country without meeting a two or 
three-year-old tot who lifts up his or her shirt before the 
traveller, perhaps in his honour. One of my patients has 
reserved in his conscious memory a scene from the eighth year 
of his life in which he had just undressed previous to going to 
bed, and was about to dance into the room of his little sister 
in his undershirt when the servant prevented his doing it. 
In the childhood history of neurotics, denudation in the 
presence of children of the opposite sex plays a great part ; in 
paranoia the desire to be observed while dressing and un- 
dressing may be directly traced to these experiences ; among 
those remaining perverted there is a class which has accen- 
tuated the childish impulse to a compulsion — they are the 
exhibitionists. 

This age of childhood in which the sense of shame is lacking 
seems to our later recollections a Paradise, and Paradise itself 
is nothing but a composite phantasy from the childhood of 
the individual. It is for this reason, too, that in Paradise 
human beings are naked and are not ashamed until the moment 
arrives when the sense of shame and of fear are aroused ; ex- 

* The child also appears in the fairy tale, for there a child suddenly 
calls : " Why, he hasn't anything on at all." 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 207 

pulsion follows, and sexual life and cultural development 
begin. Into this Paradise the dream can take us back every 
night ; we have already ventured the conjecture that the 
impressions from earliest childhood (from the prehistoric 
period until about the end of the fourth year) in themselves, 
and independently of everything else, crave reproduction, 
perhaps without further reference to their content, and that 
the repetition of them is the fulfilment of a wish. Dreams of 
nakedness, then, are exhibition dreams.* 

One's own person, which is seen not as that of a child, but 
as belonging to the present, and the idea of scanty clothing, 
which became buried beneath so many later nfyligSe recollec- 
tions or because of the censor, turns out to be obscure — these 
two things constitute the nucleus of the exhibition dream. 
Next come the persons before whom one is ashamed. I 
know of no example where the actual spectators at those 
infantile exhibitions reappear in the dream. For the dream 
is hardly ever a simple recollection. Strangely enough, those 
persons who are the objects of our sexual interest during child- 
hood are omitted from all the reproductions of the dream, of 
hysteria, and of the compulsion neurosis ; paranoia alone 
puts the spectators back into their places, and is fanatically 
convinced of their presence, although they remain invisible. 
What the dream substitutes for these, the " many strange 
peor)le, " who take no notice of the spectacle which is presented, 
is exactly the wish-opposite of that single, intimate person for 
whom the exposure was intended. " Many strange people," 
moreover, are often found in the dream in any other favourable 
connection ; as a wish-opposite they a] ways signify " a secret." | 
It may be seen how the restoration of the old condition of 
affairs, as it occurs in paranoia, is subject to this antithesis. 
One is no longer alone. One is certainly being watched, but 
the spectators are " many strange, curiously indeterminate 
people." 

Furthermore, repression has a place in the exhibition 

* Ferenczi has reported a number of interesting dreams of nakedness 
in women which could be traced to an infantile desire to exhibit, but which 
differ in some features from the " typical " dream of nakedness discussed 
above. 

t For obvious reasons the presence of the "whole family" in the dream 
has the same significance. 



208 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

dream. For the disagreeable sensation of the dream is 
the reaction of the second psychic instance to the fact 
that the exhibition scene which has been rejected by it 
has in spite of this succeeded in securing representation. 
The only way to avoid this sensation would be not to revive 
the scene. 

Later on we shall again deal with the sensation of being 
inhibited. It serves the dream excellently in representing 
the conflict of the will, the negation. According to our un- 
conscious purpose exhibition is to be continued ; according to 
the demands of the censor, it is to be stopped. 

The relation of our typical dreams to fairy tales anbl to 
other poetic material is neither a sporadic nor an accidental 
one. Occasionally the keen insight of a poet has analytically 
recognised the transforming process — of which the poet is 
usually the tool — and has followed it backwards, that is to 
say, traced it to the dream. A friend has called my attention 
to the following passage in G. Keller's Der Grüne Heinrich : 
" I do not wish, dear Lee, that you should ever come to realise 
from experience the peculiar piquant truth contained in the 
situation of Odysseus, when he appears before Nausikaa and 
her playmates, naked and covered with mud ! Would you 
like to know what it means ? Let us consider the incident 
closely. If you are ever separated from your home, and from 
everything that is dear to you, and wander about in a strange 
country, when you have seen and experienced much, when you 
have cares and sorrows, and are, perhaps, even miserable and 
forlorn, you will some night inevitably dream that you are 
approaching your home ; you will see it shining and beaming 
in the most beautiful colours ; charming, delicate and lovely 
figures will come to meet you ; and you will suddenly discover 
that you are going about in rags, naked and covered with dust. 
A nameless feeling of shame and fear seizes you, you try to 
cover yourself and to hide, and you awaken bathed in sweat. 
As long as men exist, this will be the dream of the care-laden, 
fortune-battered man, and thus Homer has taken his situation 
from the profoundest depths of the eternal character of 
humanity." 

This profound and eternal character of humanity, upon 
the touching of which in his listeners the poet usually calculates, 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 209 

is made up of the stirrings of the spirit which are rooted in 
childhood, in the period which later becomes prehistoric. 
Suppressed and forbidden wishes of childhood break forth 
under cover of those wishes of the homeless man which are 
unobjectionable and capable of becoming conscious, and for 
that reason the dream which is made objective in the legend 
of Nausikaa regularly assumes the form of a dream of 
anxiety. 

My own dream, mentioned on p. 201, of hurrying up the 
stairs, which is soon afterward changed into that of being glued 
to the steps, is likewise an exhibition dream, because it shows 
the essential components of such a dream. It must thus 
permit of being referred to childish experiences, and the 
possession of these ought to tell us how far the behaviour of 
the servant girl towards me — her reproach that I had soiled 
the carpet — helped her to secure the position which she occupies 
in the dream. I am now able to furnish the desired explana- 
tion. One learns in psychoanalysis to interpret temporal 
proximity by objective connection ; two thoughts, apparently 
without connection, which immediately follow one another, 
belong to a unity which can be inferred ; just as an a and a t, 
which I write down together, should be pronounced as one 
syllable, at. The same is true of the relation of dreams to one 
another. The dream just cited, of the stairs, has been taken 
from a series of dreams, whose other members I am familiar 
with on account of having interpreted them. The dream which 
is included in this series must belong to the same connection. 
Now the other dreams of the series are based upon the recol- 
lection of a nurse to whom I was entrusted from some time in 
the period when I was suckling to the age of two and a half 
years, and of whom a hazy recollection has remained in my 
consciousness. According to information which I have re- 
cently obtained from my mother, she was old and ugly, but 
very intelligent and thorough ; according to inferences which 
I may draw from my dreams, she did not always give me the 
kindest treatment, and said hard words to me when I showed 
insufficient aptitude for education in cleanliness. Thus by 
attempting to continue this educational work the servant 
girl develops a claim to be treated by me, in the dream, as an 
incarnation of the prehistoric old woman. It is to be assumed 

o 



210 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

that the child bestowed his love upon this governess in spite 
of her bad treatment of him.* 

Another series of dreams which might be called typical are 
those which have the content that a dear relative, parent, 
brother, or sister, child or the like, has died. Two classes of 
these dreams must immediately be distinguished — those in 
which the dreamer remains unaffected by sorrow while dream- 
ing, and those in which he feels profound grief on account of 
the death, in which he even expresses this grief during sleep 
by fervid tears. 

We may ignore the dreams of the first group ; they have 
no claim to be reckoned as typical. If they are analysed, it is 
found that they signify something else than what they contain, 
that they are intended to cover up some other wish. Thus it 
is with the dream of the aunt who sees the only son of her 
sister lying on a bier before her (p 129). This does not signify 
that she wishes the death of her little nephew ; it only con- 
ceals, as we have learned, a wish to see a beloved person once 
more after long separation — the same person whom she had 
seen again after a similar long intermission at the funeral of 
another nephew. This wish, which is the real content of 
the dream, gives no cause for sorrow, and for that reason no 
sorrow is felt in the dream. It may be seen in this case that 
the emotion which is contained in the dream does not belong 
to the manifest content of the dream, but to the latent one, 
and that the emotional content has remained free from the 
disfigurement which has befallen the presentation content. 

It is a different story with the dreams in which the death 
of a beloved relative is imagined and where sorrowful emotion 
is felt. These signify, as their content says, the wish that the 
person in question may die, and as I may here expect that the 
feelings of all readers and of all persons who have dreamt 
anything similar will object to my interpretation, I must 
strive to present my proof on the broadest possible basis. 

We have already had one example to show that the wishes 

* A supplementary interpretation of this dream : To spit on the stairs, 
led me to "esprit d'escalier" by a free translation, owing to the fact that 
" Spucken " (English : spit, and also to act like a spoolc, to haunt) is an occu- 
pation of ghosts. " Stair-wit " is ecpiivalent to lack of quickness at repartee 
(German : Schlagerfert/igheit — readiness to hit back, to strike), with which I 
must really reproach myself. Is it a question, however, whether the nurse 
was lacking in " readiness to hit " ? 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 211 

represented in the dream as fulfilled are not always actual 
wishes. They may also be dead, discarded, covered, and re- 
pressed wishes, which we must nevertheless credit with a sort 
of continuous existence on account of their reappearance in 
the dream. They are not dead like persons who have died in 
our sense, but they resemble the shades in the Odyssey which 
awaken a certain kind of life as soon as they have drunk blood. 
In the dream of the dead child in the box (p. 130) we were 
concerned with a wish that had been actual fifteen years 
before, and which had been frankly admitted from that time. 
It is, perhaps, not unimportant from the point of view of dream 
theory if I add that a recollection from earliest childhood is at 
the basis even of this dream. While the dreamer was a little 
child — it cannot be definitely determined at what time — she 
had heard that during pregnancy of which she was the fruit 
her mother had fallen into a profound depression of spirits 
and had passionately wished for the death of her child before 
birth. Having grown up herself and become pregnant, she 
now follows the example of her mother. 

If some one dreams with expressions of grief that his 
father or mother, his brother or sister, has died, I shall not 
use the dream as a proof that he wishes them dead now. 
The theory of the dreams does not require so much ; it is 
satisfied with concluding that the dreamer has wished them 
dead — at some one time in childhood. I fear, however, that 
this limitation will not contribute much to quiet the objectors ; 
they might just as energetically contest the possibility that 
they have ever had such thoughts as they are sure that they 
do not cherish such wishes at present. I must, therefore, 
reconstruct a part of the submerged infantile psychology on 
the basis of the testimony which the present still furnishes.* 

Let us at first consider the relation of children to their 
brothers and sisters. I do not know why we presuppose that 
it must be a loving one, since examples of brotherly and sisterly 
enmity among adults force themselves upon every one's ex- 
perience, and since we so often know that this estrangement 
originated even during childhood or has always existed. But 

* Gf. " Analyse der Phobie eines fünfjährigen Knaben " in the Jahrbuch 
für psychoanalytische und psychopathologische Forschungen, vol. i., 1909, and 
" Ueber infantile Sexualtheorien," in Sexualprobleme, vol. i., 1908. 



212 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

many grown-up people, who to-day are tenderly attached to 
their brothers and sisters and stand by them, have lived with 
them during childhood in almost uninterrupted hostility. 
The older child has ill-treated the younger, slandered it, and 
deprived it of its toys ; the younger has been consumed by 
helpless fury against the elder, has envied it and feared it, 
or its first impulse toward liberty and first feelings of injustice 
have been directed against the oppressor. The parents say 
that the children do not agree, and cannot find the reason for 
it. It is not difficult to see that the character even of a well- 
behaved child is not what we wish to find in a grown-up person. 
The child is absolutely egotistical ; it feels its wants acutely 
and strives remorselessly to satisfy them, especially with its 
competitors, other children, and in the first instance with its 
brothers and sisters. For doing this we do not call the child 
wicked — we call it naughty ; it is not responsible for its evil 
deeds either in our judgment or in the eyes of the penal law. 
And this is justifiably so ; for we may expect that within 
this very period of life which we call childhood, altruistic 
impulses and morality will come to life in the little egotist, 
and that, in the words of Meynert, a secondary ego will overlay 
and restrain the primary one. It is true that morality does 
not develop simultaneously in all departments, and further- 
more, the duration of the unmoral period of childhood is of 
different length in different individuals. In cases where the 
development of this morality fails to appear, we are pleased 
to talk about " degeneration " ; they are obviously cases of 
arrested development. Where the primary character has 
already been covered up by later development, it may be at 
least partially uncovered again by an attack of hysteria. The 
correspondence between the so-called hysterical character 
and that of a naughty child is strikingly evident. A com- 
pulsion neurosis, on the other hand, corresponds to a super- 
morality, imposed upon the primary character that is again 
asserting itself, as an increased check. 

Many persons, then, who love their brothers and sisters, 
and who would feel bereaved by their decease, have evil wishes 
towards them from earlier times in their unconscious wishes, 
which are capable of being realised in the dream. It is 
particularly interesting to observe little children up to three 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 213 

years old in their attitude towards their brothers and sisters. 
So far the child has been the only one ; he is now informed that 
the stork has brought a new child. The younger surveys the 
arrival, and then expresses his opinion decidedly : " The stork 
had better take it back again." * 

I subscribe in all seriousness to the opinion that the child 
knows enough to calculate the disadvantage it has to expect 
on account of the new-comer. I know in the case of a lady of 
my acquaintance who agrees very well with a sister four years 
younger than herself, that she responded to the news of her 
younger sister's arrival with the following words : " But I 
shan't give her my red cap, anyway." If the child comes to 
this realisation only at a later time, its enmity will be aroused 
at that point. I know of a case where a girl, not yet three 
years old, tried to strangle a suckling in the cradle, because 
its continued presence, she suspected, boded her no good. 
Children are capable of envy at this time of life in all its in- 
tensity and distinctness. Again, perhaps, the little brother or 
sister has really soon disappeared ; the child has again drawn 
the entire affection of the household to itself, and then a new 
child is sent by the stork ; is it then unnatural for the favourite 
to wish that the new competitor may have the same fate as 
the earlier one, in order that he may be treated as well as he 
was before during the interval ? Of course this attitude of 
the child towards the younger infant is under normal circum- 
stances a simple function of the difference of age. After a 
certain time the maternal instincts of the girl will be excited 
towards the helpless new-born child. 

Feelings of enmity towards brothers and sisters must occur 
far more frequently during the age of childhood than is noted 
by the dull observation of adults. 

In case of my own children, who followed one another 
rapidly, I missed the opportunity to make such observations ; 
I am now retrieving it through my little nephew, whose com- 
plete domination was disturbed after fifteen months by the 

* The three-and-a-half-year-old Hans, whose phobia is the subject of 
analysis in the above-mentioned publication, cries during fever shortly after 
the birth of his sister : " I don't want a little sister." In his neurosis, one 
and a half years later, he frankly confesses the wish that the mother should 
drop the little one into the bath-tub while bathing it, in order that it may die. 
With all this, Hans is a good-natured, affectionate child, wiio soon becomes 
fond of his sister, and likes especially to take her under his protectiou. 



214 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

arrival of a female competitor. I hear, it is true, that the 
young man acts very chivalrously towards his little sister, that 
he kisses her hand and pets her ; but in spite of this I have 
convinced myself that even before the completion of his 
second year he is using his new facility in language to criticise 
this person who seems superfluous to him. Whenever the 
conversation turns upon her, he chimes in and cries angrily : 
" Too (l)ittle, too (l)ittle." During the last few months, since 
the child has outgrown this unfavourable criticism, owing to 
its splendid development, he has found another way of justify- 
ing his insistence that she does not deserve so much attention. 
On all suitable occasions he reminds us, " She hasn't any 
teeth." * We have all preserved the recollection of the eldest 
daughter of another sister of mine — how the child which was 
at that time six years old sought assurance from one aunt 
after another for an hour and a half with the question : " Lucy 
can't understand that yet, can she ? " Lucy was the com- 
petitor, two and a half years younger. 

I have never failed in any of my female patients to find 
this dream of the death of brothers and sisters denoting 
exaggerated hostility. I have met with only one exception, 
which could easily be reinterpreted into a confirmation of the 
rule. Once in the course of a sitting while I was explaining 
this condition of affairs to a lady, as it seemed to have a bear- 
ing upon the symptoms under consideration, she answered, to 
my astonishment, that she had never had such dreams. How- 
ever, she thought of another dream which supposedly had 
nothing to do with the matter — a dream which she had first 
dreamed at the age of four, when she was the youngest child, 
and had since dreamed repeatedly. " A great number of 
children, all of them the dreamer's brothers and sisters, and 
male and female cousins, were romping about in a meadow. 
Suddenly they all got wings, flew up, and were gone." She 
had no idea of the significance of the dream ; but it will not 
be difficult for us to recognise it as a dream of the death of all 
the brothers and sisters, in its original form, and little in- 
fluenced by the censor. I venture to insert the following 
interpretation : At the death of one out of a large number of 

* The three-and-a-half-year old Hans embodies his crushing criticism of 
his little sister in the identical word (see previous notes). He assumes that 
she ia unable to speak on account of her lack of teeth. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 215 

children — in this case the children of two brothers were brought 
up in common as brothers and sisters — is it not probable that 
our dreamer, at that time not yet four years old, asked a wise, 
grown-up person : " What becomes of children when they 
are dead ? " The answer probably was : " They get wings 
and become angels." According to this explanation all the 
brothers and sisters and cousins in the dream now have wings 
like angels and — this is the important thing — they fly away. 
Our little angel-maker remains alone, think of it, the only 
one after such a multitude ! The feature that the children 
are romping about on a meadow points with little ambiguity 
to butterflies, as though the child had been led by the same 
association which induced the ancients to conceive Psyche 
as having the wings of a butterfly. 

Perhaps some one will now object that, although the inimical 
impulses of children towards their brothers and sisters may 
well enough be admitted, how does the childish disposition 
arrive at such a height of wickedness as to wish death to a 
competitor or stronger playmate, as though all transgressions 
could be atoned for only by the death-punishment ? Whoever 
talks in this manner forgets that the childish idea of " being 
dead " has little else but the words in common with our own. 
The child knows nothing of the horrors of decay, of shivering 
in the cold grave, of the terror of the infinite Nothing, which 
the grown-up person, as all the myths concerning the Great 
Beyond testify, finds it so hard to bear in his conception. Fear 
of death is strange to the child ; therefore it plays with the 
horrible word and threatens another child : "If you do that 
again you will die, as Francis died," whereat the poor mother 
shudders, for perhaps she cannot forget that the great majority 
of mortals do not succeed in living beyond the years of child- 
hood. It is still possible, even for a child eight years old, on 
returning from a museum of natural history, to say to its 
mother : " Mamma, I love you so ; if you ever die, I am going 
to have you stuffed and set you up here in the room so I can 
always, always see you ! " So little does the childish conception 
of being dead resemble our own.* 

* I heard the following idea expressed by a gifted boy of ten, after the 
sudden death of his father : " I understand that father is dead, but I cannot 
see why he does not come home for supper." 



216 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

Being dead means for the child, which has been spared 
the scenes of suffering previous to dying, the same as " being 
gone," not disturbing the survivors any more. The child 
does not distinguish the manner and means by which this 
absence is brought about, whether by travelling, estrangement, 
or death. If, during the prehistoric years of a child, a nurse 
has been sent away and its mother has died a short while 
after, the two experiences, as is revealed by analysis, overlap 
in his memory. The fact that the child does not miss very 
intensely those who are absent has been realised by many a 
mother to her sorrow, after she has returned home after a 
summer journey of several weeks, and has been told upon 
inquiry : " The children have not asked for their mother a 
single time." But if she really goes to that " undiscovered 
country from whose bourn no traveller returns," the children 
seem at first to have forgotten her, and begin only subsequently 
to remember the dead mother. 

If, then, the child has motives for wishing the absence of 
another child, every restraint is lacking which would prevent 
it from clothing this wish in the form that the child may die, 
and the psychic reaction to the dream of wishing death proves 
that, in spite of all the differences in content, the wish in the 
case of the child is somehow or other the same as it is with 
adults. 

If now the death-wish of the child towards its brothers and 
sisters has been explained by the childish egotism, which causes 
the child to regard its brothers and sisters as competitors, 
how may we account for the same wish towards parents, who 
bestow love on the child and satisfy its wants, and whose pre- 
servation it ought to desire from these very egotistical motives ? 

In the solution of this difficulty we are aided by the experi- 
ence that dreams of the death of parents predominantly refer 
to that member of the parental couple which shares the sex 
of the dreamer, so that the man mostly dreams of the death of 
his father, the woman of the death of her mother. I cannot 
claim that this happens regularly, but the predominating 
occurrence of this dream in the manner indicated is so evident 
that it must be explained through some factor that is uni- 
versally operative. To express the matter boldly, it is as 
though a sexual preference becomes active at an early period, 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 217 

as though the boy regards his father as a rival in love, and as 
though the girl takes the same attitude toward her mother — 
a rival by getting rid of whom he or she cannot but profit. 

Before rejecting this idea as monstrous, let the reader 
consider the actual relations between parents and children. 
What the requirements of culture and piety demand of this 
relation must be distinguished from what daily observation 
shows us to be the fact. More than one cause for hostile 
feeling is concealed within the relations between parents and 
children ; the conditions necessary for the actuation of wishes 
which cannot exist in the presence of the censor are most 
abundantly provided. Let us dwell at first upon the relation 
between father and son. I believe that the sanctity which we 
have ascribed to the injunction of the decalogue dulls our 
perception of reality. Perhaps we hardly dare to notice that 
the greater part of humanity neglects to obey the fifth 
commandment. In the lowest as well as in the highest strata of 
human society, piety towards parents is in the habit of receding 
before other interests. The obscure reports which have come 
to us in mythology and legend from the primeval ages of human 
society give us an unpleasant idea of the power of the father 
and the ruthlessness with which it was used. Kronos devours 
his children, as the wild boar devours the brood of the sow ; 
Zeus emasculates his father * and takes his place as a ruler. 
The more despotically the father ruled in the ancient family, 
the more must the son have taken the position of an enemy, 
and the greater must have been his impatience, as designated 
successor, to obtain the mastery himself after his father's 
death. Even in our own middle-class family the father is 
accustomed to aid the development of the germ of hatred which 
naturally belongs to the paternal relation by refusing the son 
the disposal of his own destiny, or the means necessary for 
this. A physician often has occasion to notice that the son's 
grief at the loss of his father cannot suppress his satisfaction 
at the liberty which he has at last obtained. Every father 
frantically holds on to whatever of the sadly antiquated potestas 

* At least a certain number of mythological representations. According 
to others, emasculation is only practised by Kronos on his father. 

With regard to mythological significance of this motive, cf. Otto Hank's 
"Der Mythus von der Geburt des Helden," fifth number of Schriften zur 
angew. Seelenkunde, 1909. 



218 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

patris still remains in the society of to-day, and every poet 
who, like Ibsen, puts the ancient strife between father and son 
in the foreground of his fiction is sure of his effect. The causes 
of conflict between mother and daughter arise when the daughter 
grows up and finds a guardian in her mother, while she desires 
sexual freedom, and when, on the other hand, the mother has 
been warned by the budding beauty of her daughter that the 
time has come for her to renounce sexual claims. 

All these conditions are notorious and open to everyone's 
inspection. But they do not serve to explain dreams of the 
death of parents found in the case of persons to whom piety 
towards their parents has long since come to be inviolable. 
We are furthermore prepared by the preceding discussion to 
find that the death-wish towards parents is to be explained by 
reference to earliest childhood. 

This conjecture is reaffirmed with a certainty that makes 
doubt impossible in its application to psychoneurotics through 
the analyses that have been undertaken with them. It is 
here found that the sexual wishes of the child — in so far as 
they deserve this designation in their embryonic state — 
awaken at a very early period, and that the first inclinations of 
the girl are directed towards the father, and the first childish 
cravings of the boy towards the mother. The father thus 
becomes an annoying competitor for the boy, as the mother 
does for the girl, and we have already shown in the case of 
brothers and sisters how little it takes for this feeling to lead 
the child to the death-wish. Sexual selection, as a rule, early 
becomes evident in the parents ; it is a natural tendency for 
the father to indulge the little daughter, and for the mother 
to take the part of the sons, while both work earnestly for the 
education of the little ones when the magic of sex does not 
prejudice their judgment. The child is very well aware of 
any partiality, and resists that member of the parental couple 
who discourages it. To find love in a grown-up person is for 
the child not only the satisfaction of a particular craving, but 
also/means that the child's will is to be yielded to in other 
respects. Thus the child obeys its own sexual impulse, and 
at the same time re-enforces the feeling which proceeds from 
the parents, if it makes a selection among the parents that 
corresponds to theirs. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 219 

Most of the signs of these infantile inclinations are usually 
overlooked ; some of them may be observed even after the 
first years of childhood. An eight-year-old girl of my ac- 
quaintance, when her mother is called from the table, takes 
advantage of the opportunity to proclaim herself her suc- 
cessor. " Now I shall be Mamma ; Charles, do you want some 
more vegetables ? Have some, I beg you," &c. A particu- 
larly gifted and vivacious girl, not yet four years old, with 
whom this bit of child psychology is unusually transparent, 
says outright : " Now mother can go away ; then father must 
marry me and I shall be his wife." Nor does this wish by any 
means exclude from child life the possibility that the child 
may love his mother affectionately. If the little boy is allowed 
to sleep at his mother's side whenever his father goes on a 
journey, and if after his father's return he must go back to the 
nursery to a person whom he likes far less, the wish may be 
easily actuated that his father may always be absent, in order 
that he may keep his place next to his dear, beautiful mamma ; 
and the father's death is obviously a means for the attainment 
of this wish ; for the child's experience has taught him that 
" dead " folks, like grandpa, for example, are always absent ; 
they never return. 

Although observations upon little children lend them- 
selves, without being forced, to the proposed interpretation, 
they do not carry the full conviction which psychoanalyses 
of adult neurotics obtrude upon the physician. The dreams 
in question are here cited with introductions of such a nature 
that their interpretation as wish-dreams becomes unavoidable. 
One day I find a lady sad and weeping. She says : " I do not 
want to see my relatives any more ; they must shudder at 
me." Thereupon, almost without any transition, she tells 
that she remembers a dream, whose significance, of course, 
she does not know. She dreamed it four years before, and it 
is as follows : A fox or a lynx is taking a walk on the roof ; then 
something falls down, or she falls down, and after that her mother is 
carried out of the house dead — whereat the dreamer cries bitterly. 
No sooner had I informed her that this dream must signify a 
wish from her childhood to see her mother dead, and that it is 
because of this dream that she thinks that her relatives must 
shudder at her, than she furnished some material for explaining 



220 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

the dream. " Lynx-eye " is an opprobrious epithet which a 
street boy once bestowed on her when she was a very small 
child ; when she was three years old a brick had fallen on her 
mother's head so that she bled severely. 

I once had opportunity to make a thorough study of a 
young girl who underwent several psychic states. In the state 
of frenzied excitement with which the illness started, the 
patient showed a very strong aversion to her mother ; she 
struck and scolded her as soon as she approached the bed, 
while at the same time she remained loving and obedient to a 
much older sister. Then there followed a clear but somewhat 
apathetic state with very much disturbed sleep. It was in 
this phase that I began to treat her and to analyse her dreams. 
An enormous number of these dealt in a more or less abstruse 
manner with the death of the mother ; now she was present 
at the funeral of an old woman, now she saw her sisters sitting 
at the table dressed in mourning ; the meaning of the dreams 
could not be doubted. During the further progress of the 
convalescence hysterical phobias appeared ; the most tortur- 
ing of these was the idea that something happened to her 
mother. She was always having to hurry home from wherever 
she happened to be in order to convince herself that her mother 
was still alive. Now this case, in view of my other experiences, 
was very instructive ; it showed in polyglot translations, as it 
were, the different ways in which the psychic apparatus reacts 
to the same exciting idea. In the state of excitement which 
I conceive as the overpowering of the second psychic instance, 
the unconscious enmity towards the mother became potent 
as a motor impulse ; then, after calmness set in, following the 
suppression of the tumult, and after the domination of the 
censor had been restored, this feeling of enmity had access 
only to the province of dreams in order to realise the wish that 
the mother might die ; and after the normal condition had 
been still further strengthened, it created the excessive concern 
for the mother as a hysterical counter-reaction and manifesta- 
tion of defence. In the light of these considerations it is no 
longer inexplicable why hysterical girls are so often extrava- 
gantly attached to their mothers. 

On another occasion I had opportunity to get a profound 
insight into the unconscious psychic life of a young man for 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 221 

whom a compulsion-neurosis made life almost unendurable, 
so that he could not go on the street, because he was harassed 
by the obsession that he would kill every one he met. He spent 
his days in arranging evidence for an alibi in case he should be 
charged with any murder that might have occurred in the 
city. It is superfluous to remark that this man was as moral 
as he was highly cultured. The analysis — which, moreover, 
led to a cure — discovered murderous impulses toward the 
young man's somewhat over-strict father as the basis of these 
disagreeable ideas of compulsion — impulses which, to his great 
surprise, had received conscious expression when he was seven 
years old, but which, of course, had originated in much earlier 
years of childhood. After the painful illness and death of 
the father, the obsessive reproach transferred to strangers in 
the form of the afore-mentioned phobia, appeared when the 
young man was thirty-one years old. Anyone capable of 
wishing to push his own father from a mountain-top into an 
abyss is certainly not to be trusted to spare the lives of those 
who are not so closely bound to him ; he does well to lock 
himself into his room. 

According to my experience, which is now large, parents 
play a leading part in the infantile psychology of all later 
neurotics, and falling in love with one member of the parental 
couple and hatred of the other help to make up that fateful 
sum of material furnished by the psychic impulses, which has 
been formed during the infantile period, and which is of such 
great importance for the symptoms appearing in the later 
neurosis. But I do not think that psychoneurotics are here 
sharply distinguished from normal human beings, in that 
they are capable of creating something absolutely new and 
peculiar to themselves. It is far more probable, as is shown 
also by occasional observation upon normal children, that in 
their loving or hostile wishes towards their parents psycho- 
neurotics only show in exaggerated form feelings which are 
present less distinctly and less intensely in the minds of most 
children. Antiquity has furnished us with legendary material 
to confirm this fact, and the deep and universal effectiveness of 
these legends can only be explained by granting a similar 
universal applicability to the above-mentioned assumption in 
infantile psychology. 



222 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

I refer to the legend of King Oedipus and the drama of the 
same name by Sophocles. Oedipus, the son of Laius, king of 
Thebes, and of Jocasta, is exposed while a suckling, because 
an oracle has informed the father that his son, who is still 
unborn, will be his murderer. He is rescued, and grows up as 
the king's son at a foreign court, until, being uncertain about 
his origin, he also consults the oracle, and is advised to avoid 
his native place, for he is destined to become the murderer of 
his father and the husband of his mother. On the road leading 
away from his supposed home he meets King Laius and strikes 
him dead in a sudden quarrel. Then he comes to the gates 
of Thebes, where he solves the riddle of the Sphynx who is 
barring the way, and he is elected king by the Thebans in 
gratitude, and is presented with the hand of Jocasta. He 
reigns in peace and honour for a long time, and begets two sons 
and two daughters upon his unknown mother, until at last a 
plague breaks out which causes the Thebans to consult the 
oracle anew. Here Sophocles' tragedy begins. The mes- 
sengers bring the advice that the plague will stop as soon as the 
murderer of Laius is driven from the country. But where is 
he hidden ? 

" Where are they to be found % How shall we trace the 
perpetrators of so old a crime where no conjecture leads to 
discovery ? " * 

The action of the play now consists merely in a revelation, 
which is gradually completed and artfully delayed — resembling 
the work of a psychoanalysis — of the fact that Oedipus 
himself is the murderer of Laius, and the son of the dead man 
and of Jocasta. Oedipus, profoundly shocked at the mon- 
strosities which he has unknowingly committed, blinds himself 
and leaves his native place. The oracle has been fulfilled. 

The Oedipus Tyrannus is a so-called tragedy of fate ; its 
tragic effect is said to be found in the opposition between the 
powerful will of the gods and the vain resistance of the human 
beings who are threatened with destruction ; resignation to 
the will of God and confession of one's own helplessness is the 
lesson which the deeply-moved spectator is to learn from the 
tragedy. Consequently modern authors have tried to obtain 
a similar tragic effect by embodying the same opposition in a 
* Act. i. ac. 2. Translated by George Soniers Clark. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 223 

story of their own invention. But spectators have sat unmoved 
while a curse or an oracular sentence has been fulfilled on 
blameless human beings in spite of all their struggles ; later 
tragedies of fate have all remained without effect. 

If the Oedipus Tyrannus is capable of moving modern men 
no less than it moved the contemporary Greeks, the explana- 
tion of this fact cannot lie merely in the assumption that the 
effect of the Greek tragedy is based upon the opposition be- 
tween fate and human will, but is to be sought in the peculiar 
nature of the material by which the opposition is shown. 
There must be a voice within us which is prepared to recognise 
the compelling power of fate in Oedipus, while we justly con- 
demn the situations occurring in Die Ahnfrau or in other 
tragedies of later date as arbitrary inventions. And there must 
be a factor corresponding to this inner voice in the story of 
King Oedipus. His fate moves us only for the reason that it 
might have been ours, for the oracle has put the same curse 
upon us before our birth as upon him. Perhaps we are all 
destined to direct our first sexual impulses towards our 
mothers, and our first hatred and violent wishes towards our 
fathers ; our dreams convince us of it. King Oedipus, who 
has struck his father Laius dead and has married his mother 
Jocasta, is nothing but the realised wish of our childhood. 
But more fortunate than he, we have since succeeded, unless 
we have become psychoneurotics, in withdrawing our sexual 
impulses from our mothers and in forgetting our jealousy of 
our fathers. We recoil from the person for whom this primitive 
wish has been fulfilled with all the force of the repression which 
these wishes have suffered within us. By his analysis, showing 
us the guilt of Oedipus, the poet urges us to recognise our own 
inner self, in which these impulses, even if suppressed, are still 
present. The comparison with which the chorus leaves us — 

"... Behold ! this Oedipus, who unravelled the famous 
riddle and who was a man of eminent virtue ; a man who 
trusted neither to popularity nor to the fortune of his citizens ; 
see how great a storm of adversity hath at last overtaken 
him " (Act v. sc. 4). 

This warning applies to ourselves and to our pride, to us, who 
have grown so wise and so powerful in our own estimation 



224 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

since the years of our childhood. Like Oedipus, we live in 
ignorance of the wishes that offend morality, wishes which 
nature has forced upon us, and after the revelation of which we 
want to avert every glance from the scenes of our childhood. 

In the very text of Sophocles' tragedy there is an unmis- 
takable reference to the fact that the Oedipus legend originates 
in an extremely old dream material, which consists of the 
painful disturbance of the relation towards one's parents by 
means of the first impulses of sexuality. Jocasta comforts 
Oedipus — who is not yet enlightened, but who has become 
worried on account of the oracle — by mentioning to him 
the dream which is dreamt by so many people, though she 
attaches no significance to it — 

" For it hath already been the lot of many men in dreams 
to think themselves partners of their mother's bed. But he 
passes most easily through life to whom these circumstances 
are trifles " (Act iv. sc. 3). 

The dream of having sexual intercourse with one's mother 
occurred at that time, as it does to-day, to many people, who 
tell it with indignation and astonishment. As may be under- 
stood, it is the key to the tragedy and the complement to the 
dream of the death of the father. The story of Oedipus is 
the reaction of the imagination to these two typical dreams, 
and just as the dream when occurring to an adult is experienced 
with feelings of resistance, so the legend must contain terror 
and self -chastisement. The appearance which it further 
assumes is the result of an uncomprehending secondary elab- 
oration which tries to make it serve theological purposes 
(c/. the dream material of exhibitionism, p. 206). The at- 
tempt to reconcile divine omnipotence with human responsi- 
bility must, of course, fail with this material as with every 
other.* 

* Another of the great creations of tragic poetry, Shakespeare's Hamlet, 
is founded on the same basis as the Oedipus. But the whole difference in 
the psychic life of the two widely separated periods of civilisation — the age- 
long progress of repression in the emotional life of humanity — is made 
man i fest in the changed treatment of the identical material. In Oedipus 
the basic wish-phantasy of the child is brought to light and realised as it is 
in the dream ; in Hamlet it remains repressed, and we learn of its existence 
— somewhat as in the case of a neurosis — only by the inhibition which 
results from it. The fact that it is possible to remain in complete darkness 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 225 

I must not leave the typical dream of the death of dear 
relatives without somewhat further elucidating the subject 

concerning the character of the hero, has curiously shown itself to be consistent 
with the overpowering effect of the modern drama. The play is based upon 
Hamlet's hesitation to accomplish the avenging task which has been assigned 
to him ; the text does not avow the reasons or motives of this hesitation, nor 
have the numerous attempts at interpretation succeeded in giving them. 
According to the conception which is still current to-day, and which goes 
back to Goethe, Hamlet represents the type of man whose prime energy 
is paralysed by over-development of thought activity. (" Sicklied o'er with 
the pale cast of thought.") According to others the poet has attempted to 
portray a morbid, vacillating character who is subject to neurasthenia. The 
plot of the story, however, teaches us that Hamlet is by no means intended 
to appear as a person altogether incapable of action. Twice we see him 
asserting himself actively, once in headlong passion, where he stabs the 
eavesdropper behind the arras, and on another occasion where he sends the 
two courtiers to the death which has been intended for himself — doing this 
deliberately, even craftily, and with all the lack of compunction of a prince 
of the Renaissance. What is it, then, that restrains him in the accomplish- 
ment of the task which his father's ghost has set before him ? Here the 
explanation offers itself that it is the peculiar nature of this task. Hamlet 
can do everything but take vengeance upon the man who has put his father 
out of the way, and has taken his father's place with his mother — upon the 
man who shows him the realisation of his repressed childhood wishes. The 
loathing which ought to drive him to revenge is thus replaced in him by 
self-reproaches, by conscientious scruples, which represent to him that he 
himself is no better than the murderer whom he is to punish. I have thus 
translated into consciousness what had to remain unconscious in the mind 
of the hero ; if some one wishes to call Hamlet a hysteric subject I cannot 
but recognise it as an inference from my interpretation. The sexual dis- 
inclination which Hamlet expresses in conversation with Ophelia, coincides 
very well with this view — it is the same sexual disinclination which was to 
take possession of the poet more and more during the next few years of his 
life, until the climax of it is expressed in Timon of Athens. Of course it 
can only be the poet's own psychology with which we are confronted in 
Hamlet j from a work on Shakespeare by George Brandes (1896), I take 
the fact that the drama was composed immediately after the death of 
Shakespeare's father — that is to say, in the midst of recent mourning for 
him — during the revival, we may assume, of his childhood emotion towards 
his father. It is also known that a son of Shakespeare's, who died early, 
bore the name of Hamnet (identical with Hamlet). Just as Hamlet treats 
of the relation of the son to his parents, Macbeth, which appears subse- 
quently, is based upon the theme of childlessness. Just as every neurotic 
symptom, just as the dream itself, is capable of re-interpretation, and even 
requires it in order to be perfectly intelligible, so every genuine poetical 
creation must have proceeded from more than one motive, more than one 
impulse in the mind of the poet, and must admit of more than one inter- 
pretation. I have here attempted to interpret only the most profound group 
of impulses in the mind of the creative poet. The conception of the Hamlet 
problem contained in these remarks has been later confirmed in a detailed 
work based on many new arguments by Dr. Ernest Jones, of Toronto 
(Canada). The connection of the Hamlet material with the " Mythus von 
der Geburt des Helden " has also been demonstrated by O. Rank. — " The 
Oedipus Complex as an Explanation of Hamlet's Mystery : a Study in Motive " 
{American Journal of Psychology, January 1910, vol. xxi.). 

P 



226 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

of their significance for the theory of the dream in general. 
These dreams show us a realisation of the very unusual case 
where the dream thought, which has been created by the 
repressed wish, completely escapes the censor, and is transferred 
to the dream without alteration. There must be present 
peculiar conditions making possible such an outcome. I find 
circumstances favourable to these dreams in the two following 
factors : First, there is no wish which we believe further from 
us ; we believe such a wish " would never occur to us in a 
dream " ; the dream censor is therefore not prepared for this 
monstrosity, just as the legislation of Solon was incapable of 
establishing a punishment for patricide. Secondly, the re- 
pressed and unsuspected wish is in just this case particularly 
often met by a fragment of the day's experience in the shape 
of a concern about the life of the beloved person. This con- 
cern cannot be registered in the dream by any other means 
than by taking advantage of the wish that has the same 
content ; but it is possible for the wish to mask itself behind 
the concern which has been awakened during the day. If one 
is inclined to think all this a more simple process, and that 
one merely continues during the night and in dreams what 
one has been concerned with during the day, the dream of the 
death of beloved persons is removed from all connection with 
dream explanation, and an easily reducible problem is uselessly 
retained. 

It is also instructive to trace the relation of these dreams to 
anxiety dreams. In the dream of the death of dear persons 
the repressed wish has found a way of avoiding the censor, 
and the distortion which it causes. In this case the inevitable 
concomitant manifestation is that disagreeable sensations are 
felt in the dream. Thus the dream of fear is brought about 
only when the censor is entirely or partially overpowered, 
and, on the other hand, the overpowering of the censor is made 
easier when fear has already been furnished by somatic sources. 
Thus it becomes obvious for what purpose the censor performs 
its office and practises dream distortion ; it does this in order 
to prevent the development of fear or other forms of disagreeable 
emotion. 

I have spoken above of the egotism of the infantile mind, 
and I may now resume this subject in order to suggest that 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 227 

dreams preserve this characteristic — thus showing their con- 
nection with infantile life. Every dream is absolutely egotis- 
tical ; in every dream the beloved ego appears, even though it 
may be in a disguised form. The wishes that are realised in 
dreams are regularly the wishes of this ego ; it is only a de- 
ceptive appearance if interest in another person is thought to 
have caused the dream. I shall subject to analysis several 
examples which appear to contradict this assertion. 

I. A boy not yet four years old relates the following : He 
saw a large dish garnished, and upon it a large piece of roast meat, 
and the meat was all of a sudden — not cut to pieces — but eaten up. 
He did not see the person who ate it* 

Who may this strange person be of whose luxurious repast 
this little fellow dreams ? The experiences of the day must 
give us the explanation of this. For a few days the boy had 
been living on a diet of milk according to the doctor's pre- 
scription ; but on the evening of the day before the dream he 
had been naughty, and as a punishment he had been deprived of 
his evening meal. He had already undergone one such hunger- 
cure, and had acted very bravely. He knew that he would get 
nothing to eat, but he did not dare to indicate by a word that 
he was hungry. Education was beginning to have its influence 
upon him ; this is expressed even in the dream which shows 
the beginnings of dream disfigurement. There is no doubt 
that he himself is the person whose wishes are directed toward 
this abundant meal, and a meal of roast meat at that. But 
since he knows that this is forbidden him, he does not dare, as 
children do in the dream (cf. the dream about strawberries of 
my little Anna, p. 110), to sit down to the meal himself. The 
person remains anonymous. 

II. Once I dream that I see on the show-table of a book 
store a new number in the Book-lovers' Collection — the collec- 
tion which I am in the habit of buying (art monographs, mono- 
graphs on the history of the world, famous art centres, &c). 

* Likewise, anything large, over-abundant, enormous, and exaggerated, 
may be a childish characteristic. The child knows no more intense wish 
than to become big, and to receive as much of everything as grown-ups ; the 
child is hard to satisfy ; it knows no enough, and insatiably demands the 
repetition of whatever has pleased it or tasted good to it. It learns to 
practise moderation, to be modest and resigned, only through culture and 
education. As is well known, the neurotic is also inclined toward im- 
moderation and excess. 



228 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

The new collection is called Famous Orators {or Orations), and 
the first number hears the name of Doctor Lecher. 

In the course of analysis it appears improbable that the 
fame of Dr. Lecher, the long-winded orator of the German 
Opposition, should occupy my thoughts while I am dreaming. 
The fact is that, a few days before, I undertook the psychic 
cure of some new patients, and was now forced to talk for 
from ten to twelve hours a day. Thus I myself am the long- 
winded orator. 

III. Upon another occasion I dream that a teacher of my 
acquaintance at the university says : My son, the Myopic. 
Then there follows a dialogue consisting of short speeches and 
replies. A third portion of the dream follows in which I and 
my sons appear, and as far as the latent dream content is 
concerned, father, son, and Professor M. are alike only lay 
figures to represent me and my eldest son. I shall consider 
this dream again further on because of another peculiarity. 

IV. The following dream gives an example of really base 
egotistical feelings, which are concealed behind affectionate 
concern : 

My friend Otto looks ill, his face is brown and his eyes bulge. 

Otto is my family physician, to whom I owe a debt greater 
than I can ever hope to repay, since he has guarded the health 
of my children for years. He has treated them successfully 
when they were taken sick, and besides that he has given them 
presents on all occasions which gave him any excuse for doing 
so. He came for a visit on the day of the dream, and my 
wife noticed that he looked tired and exhausted. Then comes 
my dream at night, and attributes to him a few of the symptoms 
of Basedow's disease. Any one disregarding my rules for 
dream interpretation would understand this dream to mean 
that I am concerned about the health of my friend, and that 
this concern is realised in the dream. It would thus be a 
contradiction not only of the assertion that the dream is a 
wish-fulfilment, but also of the assertion that it is accessible 
only to egotistic impulses. But let the person who interprets 
the dream in this manner explain to me why I fear that Otto 
has . Basedow's disease, for which diagnosis his appearance 
does not give the slightest justification ? As opposed to this, 
my analysis furnishes the following material, taken from an 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 229 

occurrence which happened six years ago. A small party of 
us, including Professor R., were driving in profound darkness 
through the forest of N., which is several hours distant from 
our country home. The coachman, who was not quite sober, 
threw us and the wagon down a bank, and it was only by a 
lucky accident that we all escaped unhurt. But we were 
forced to spend the night at the nearest inn, where the news of 
our accident awakened great sympathy. A gentleman, who 
showed unmistakable signs of the morbus Basedowii — nothing 
but a brownish colour of the skin of the face and bulging eyes, 
no goitre — placed himself entirely at our disposal and asked 
what he could do for us. Professor R. answered in his decided 
way : " Nothing but lend me a night-shirt." Whereupon our 
generous friend replied : "I am sorry but I cannot do that," 
and went away. 

In continuing the analysis, it occurs to me that Basedow 
is the name not only of a physician, but also of a famous 
educator. (Now that I am awake I do not feel quite sure of 
this fact.) My friend Otto is the person whom I have asked 
to take charge of the physical education of my children — 
especially during the age of puberty (hence the night-shirt) — 
in case anything should happen to me. By seeing Otto in 
the dream with the morbid symptoms of our above-mentioned 
generous benefactor, I apparently mean to say, " If anything 
happens to me, just as little is to be expected for my children 
from him as was to be expected then from Baron L., in spite of 
his well-meaning offers." The egotistical turn of this dream 
ought now to be clear.* 

But where is the wish-fulfilment to be found ? It is not 
in the vengeance secured upon my friend Otto, whose fate it 
seems to be to receive ill-treatment in my dreams, but in the 
following circumstances : In representing Otto in the dream 
as Baron L., I have at the same time identified myself with 
some one else, that is to say, with Professor R., for I have asked 
something of Otto, just as R. asked something of Baron L. 

* While Dr. Jones was delivering a lecture before an American scientific 
society, and speaking of egotism in dreams, a learned lady took exception 
to this unscientific generalisation. She thought that the lecturer could only 
pronounce such judgment on the dreams of Austrians, and had no right to 
include the dreams of Americans. As for herself she was sure that all her 
dreams were strictly altruistic. 



230 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

at the time of the occurrence which has been mentioned. And 
that is the point. For Professor R. has pursued his way 
independently outside the schools, somewhat as I have done, 
and has only in later years received the title which he earned 
long ago. I am therefore again wishing to be a professor ! 
The very phrase " in later years " is the fulfilment of wish, 
for it signifies that I shall five long enough to pilot my boy 
through the age of puberty myself. 

I gave only a brief account of the other forms of typical 
dreams in the first edition of this book, because an insufficient 
amount of good material was at my disposal. My experience, 
which has since been increased, now makes it possible for me 
to divide these dreams into two broad classes — first, those 
which really have the same meaning every time, and secondly, 
those which must be subjected to the most widely different 
interpretations in spite of their identical or similar content. 
Among the typical dreams of the first sort I shall closely 
consider the examination dream and the so-called dream of 
dental irritation. 

Every one who has received his degree after having passed 
the final college examination, complains of the ruthlessness 
with which he is pursued by the anxiety dream that he will 
fail, that he must repeat his work, &c. For the holder of the 
university degree this typical dream is replaced by another, 
which represents to him that he has to pass the examination 
for the doctor's degree, and against which he vainly raises the 
objection in his sleep that he has already been practising for 
years — that he is already a university instructor or the head 
of a law firm. These are the ineradicable memories of the 
punishments which we suffered when we were children for 
misdeeds which we had committed — memories which were 
revived in us on that dies irae, dies ilia of the severe exami- 
nation at the two critical junctures in our studies. The 
" examination-phobia " of neurotics is also strengthened by 
this childish fear. After we have ceased to be schoolboys it 
is no longer our parents and guardians as at first, or our 
teachers as later on, who see to our punishment ; the inexorable 
chain of causes and effects in life has taken over our further 
education. Now we dream of examinations for graduation 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 231 

or for the doctor's degree — and who has not been faint-hearted 
in these tests, even though he belonged to the righteous ? — 
whenever we fear that an outcome will punish us because we 
have not done something, or because we have not accomplished 
something as we should — in short whenever we feel the weight 
of responsibility. 

I owe the actual explanation of examination dreams to a 
remark made by a well-informed colleague, who once asserted 
in a scientific discussion that in his experience the examination 
dream occurs only to persons who have passed the examina- 
tion, never to those who have gone to pieces on it. The 
anxiety dream of the examination, which occurs, as is being 
more and more corroborated, when the dreamer is looking 
forward to a responsible action on his part the next day and 
the possibility of disgrace, has therefore probably selected 
an occasion in the past where the great anxiety has shown 
itself to have been without justification and has been contra- 
dicted by the result. This would be a very striking example 
of a misconception of the dream content on the part of the 
waking instance. The objection to the dream, which is con- 
ceived as the indignant protest, " But I am already a 
doctor," &c, would be in reality a consolation which the 
dreams offer, and which would therefore be to the following 
effect : " Do not be afraid of the morrow ; think of the fear 
which you had before the final examination, and yet nothing 
came of it. You are a doctor this minute," &c. The fear, 
however, which we attribute to the dream, originates in the 
remnants of daily experience. 

The tests of this explanation which I was able to make in 
my own case and in that of others, although they were not 
sufficiently numerous, have been altogether successful. I 
failed, for example, in the examination for the doctor's degree 
in legal medicine ; never once have I been concerned about 
this matter in my dreams, while I have often enough been 
examined in botany, zoology, or chemistry, in which subjects 
I took the examinations with well-founded anxiety, but 
escaped punishment through the clemency of fortune or of 
the examiner. In my dreams of college examination, I am 
regularly examined in history, a subject which I passed 
brilliantly at the time, but only, I must admit, because my 



232 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

good-natured professor — my one-eyed benefactor in another 
dream (c/. p. 12) — did not overlook the fact that on the list 
of questions I had crossed out the second of three questions 
as an indication that he should not insist on it. One of my 
patients, who withdrew before the final college examinations 
and made them up later, but who failed in the officer's exami- 
nation and did not become an officer, tells me that he dreams 
about the former examination often enough, but never about 
the latter. 

The above-mentioned colleague (Dr. Stekel of Vienna) 
calls attention to the double meaning of the word " Matura " 
(Matura — examination for college degree : mature, ripe), and 
claims that he has observed that examination dreams occur 
very frequently when a sexual test is set for the following day, 
in which, therefore, the disgrace which is feared might consist 
in the manifestation of slight potency. A German colleague 
takes exception to this, as it appears, justly, on the ground 
that this examination is denominated in Germany the Abiturium 
and hence lacks this double meaning. 

On account of their similar affective impression dreams of 
missing a train deserve to be placed next to examination 
dreams. Their explanation also justifies this relationship. 
They are consolation dreams directed against another feeling 
of fear perceived in the dream, the fear of dying. " To 
depart " is one of the most frequent and one of the most easily 
reached symbols of death. The dream thus says consolingly : 
" Compose yourself, you are not going to die (to depart)," just 
as the examination dream calms us by saying " Fear not, 
nothing will happen to you even this time." The difficulty 
in understanding both kinds of dreams is due to the fact that 
the feeling of anxiety is directly connected with the expression 
of consolation. Stekel treats fully the symbolisms of death 
in his recently published book Die Sprache des Traumes. 

The meaning of the " dreams of dental irritation," which 
I have had to analyse often enough with my patients, 
escaped me for a long time, because, much to my astonishment, 
resistances that were altogether too great obstructed their 
interpretation. 

At last overwhelming evidence convinced me that, in the 
case of men, nothing else than cravings for masturbation from 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 233 

the time of puberty furnishes the motive power for these 
dreams. I shall analyse two such dreams, one of which is 
likewise " a dream of flight." The two dreams are of the 
same person — a young man with a strong homosexuality, 
which, however, has been repressed in life. 

He is witnessing a performance of Fidelio from the parquette 
of the opera house ; he is sitting next to L., whose personality is 
congenial to him, and whose friendship he would like to have. 
He suddenly flies diagonally clear across the parquette ; he 
then puts his hand in his mouth and draws out two of his 
teeth. 

He himself describes the flight by saying it was as if he 
were " thrown " into the air. As it was a performance of 
Fidelio he recalls the poet's words : 

" He who a charming wife acquired " 

But even the acquisition of a charming wife is not among the 
wishes of the dreamer. Two other verses would be more 
appropriate : 

" He who succeeds in the lucky (big) throw, 
A friend of a friend to be ... " 

The dream thus contains the " lucky (big) throw," which 
is not, however, a wish-fulfilment only. It also conceals the 
painful reflection that in his striving after friendship he has 
often had the misfortune to be " thrown down," and the fear 
lest this fate may be repeated in the case of the young 
man next whom he has enjoyed the performance of Fidelio. 
This is now followed by a confession which quite puts this 
refined dreamer to shame, to the effect that once, after such 
a rejection on the part of a friend, out of burning desire he 
merged into sexual excitement and masturbated twice in 
succession. 

The other dream is as follows : Two professors of the uni- 
versity who are known to him are treating him in my stead. One 
of them does something with his penis ; he fears an operation. 
The other one thrusts an iron bar at his mouth so that he loses 
two teeth. He is bound with four silken cloths. 

The sexual significance of this dream can hardly be doubted. 
The silken cloths are equivalent to an identification with a 



234 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

homosexual of his acquaintance. The dreamer, who has never 
achieved coition, but who has never actually sought sexual 
intercourse with men, conceives sexual intercourse after the 
model of the masturbation' which he was once taught during 
the time of puberty. 

I believe that the frequent modifications of the typical 
dream of dental irritation — that, for example, of another 
person drawing the tooth from the dreamer's mouth, are made 
intelligible by means of the same explanation. It may, 
however, be difficult to see how " dental irritation " can come 
to have this significance. I may then call attention to a 
transference from below to above which occurs very frequently. 
This transference is at the service of sexual repression, and 
by means of it all kinds of sensations and intentions occurring 
in hysteria which ought to be enacted in the genitals can be 
realised upon less objectionable parts of the body. It is also 
a case of such transference when the genitals are replaced by 
the face in the symbolism of unconscious thought. This is 
assisted by the fact that the buttocks resemble the cheeks, and 
also by the usage of language which calls the nymphse " lips," 
as resembling those that enclose the opening of the mouth. 
The nose is compared to the penis in numerous allusions, and 
in one place as in the other the presence of hair completes the 
resemblance. Only one part of the anatomy — the teeth — 
are beyond all possibility of being compared with anything, 
and it is just this coincidence of agreement and disagreement 
which makes the teeth suitable for representation under 
pressure of sexual repression. 

I do not wish to claim that the interpretation of the dream 
of dental irritation as a dream of masturbation, the justifica- 
tion of which I cannot doubt, has been freed of all obscurity.* 
I carry the explanation as far as I am able, and must leave the 
rest unsolved. But I must also refer to another connection 
revealed by an idiomatic expression. In our country there is 
in use an indelicate designation for the act of masturbation, 
namely : To pull one out, or to pull one down.f I am unable 
to say whence these colloquialisms originate, and on what 

* According to C. tt. Jung, dreams of dental irritation in the case of 
women have the significance of parturition dreams. 
t Of. the " biographic " dream on p. 235. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 235 

symbolisms they are based, but the teeth would well fit in 
with the first of the two.* 

Dreams in which one is flying or hovering, falling, swimming, 
or the like, belong to the second group of typical dreams. What 
do these dreams signify ? A general statement on this point 
cannot be made. They signify something different in each case, 

* As the dreams of pulling teeth, and teeth falling out, are interpreted 
in popular belief to mean the death of a close friend, and as psychoanalysis 
can at most only admit of such a meaning in the above indicated parodical 
sense, I insert here a dream of dental irritation placed at my disposal by 
Otto Rank 109 . 

" Upon the subject of dreams of dental irritation I have received the 
following report from a colleague who has for some time taken a lively 
interest in the problems of dream interpretation : 

I recently dreamed that I went to the dentist who drilled out one of my bach 
teeth in the lower jaw. He worked so long at it that the tooth became useless. He 
then grasped it with the forceps, and pulled it out with such perfect ease that it 
astonished me. He said that I should not care about it, as this ivas not really the 
tooth that had been treated ; and he 'put it on the table where the tooth (as it seems 
to me now an upper incisor) fell apart into many strata. I arose from the 
operating chair, stepped inquisitively nearer, and, full of interest, put a medical 
question. While the doctor separated the individual pieces of the strikingly white 
tooth and ground them up (pulverised them) with an instrument, he explained 
to me that this had some connection with puberty, and that the teeth come out so 
easily only before puberty ; the decisive moment for this in women is the birth of 
a child. I then noticed (as I believe half awake) that this dream was accompanied 
by a pollution which I cannot however definitely place at a particular point in 
the dream; I am inclined to think that it began with the pulling out of the 
tooth. 

I then continued to dream something which I can no longer remember, which 
ended with the fact tliat I had left my liat and coat somewhere (perhaps at the 
dentist's), hoping that they would be brought after me, and dressed only in my 
overcoat I hastened to catch a departing train. I succeeded at the last moment 
in jumping upon the last car, where someone was already standing. I could not, 
however, get inside the car, but was compelled to make the journey in an un- 
comfortable position, from which I attempted to escape with final success. We 
journeyed through a long tunnel, in which two trains from the opposite direction 
passed through our own train as if it were a tunnel. I looked in as from the 
outside through a car window. 

As material for the interpretation of this dream, we obtained the follow- 
ing experiences and thoughts of the dreamer : — 

I. For a short time I had actually been under dental treatment, and at 
the time of the dream I was suffering from continual pains in the tooth of 
my lower jaw, which was drilled out in the dream, and on which the dentist 
had in fact worked longer than I liked. On the forenoon of the day of the 
dream I had again gone to the doctor's on account of the pain, and he had 
suggested that I should allow him to pull out another tooth than the one 
treated in the same jaw, from which the pain probably came. It was a 
' wisdom tooth ' which was just breaking through. On this occasion, and 
in this connection, I had put a question to his conscience as a physician. 

II. On the afternoon of the same day I was obliged to excuse myself to 
a lady for my irritable disposition on account of the toothache, upon which 



236 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

as we shall hear : only the sensational material which they 
contain always comes from the same source. 

It is necessary to conclude, from the material obtained in 
psychoanalysis, that these dreams repeat impressions from 
childhood — that is, that they refer to the movement games 
which have such extraordinary attractions for the child. What 

she told me that she was afraid to have one of her roots pulled, though the 
crown was almost completely gone. She thought that the pulling out of 
eye teeth was especially painful and dangerous, although some acquaintance 
had told her that this was much easier when it was a tooth of the lower 
jaw. It was such a tooth in her case. The same acquaintance also told her 
that while under an anaesthetic one of her false teeth had been pulled — a 
statement which increased her fear of the necessary operation. She then 
asked me whether by eye teeth one was to understand molars or canines, 
and what was known about them. I then called her attention to the vein 
of superstitions in all these meanings, without however, emphasising the 
real significance of some of the popular views. She knew from her own 
experience, a very old and general popular belief, according to which if a 
pregnant woman has toothache she will give birth to a boy. 

III. This saying interested me in its relation to the typical significance 
of dreams of dental irritation as a substitute for onanism as maintained by 
Freud in his Traumdeutung (2nd edition, p. 193), for the teeth and the male 
genital (Bub-boy) are brought in certain relations even in the popular 
saying. On the evening of the same day I therefore read the passage in 
question in the Traumdeutung, and found there among other things the 
statements which will be quoted in a moment, the influence of which on my 
dream is as plainly recognisable as the influence of the two above-mentioned 
experiences. Freud writes concerning dreams of dental irritation that 'in 
the case of men nothing else than cravings for masturbation from the time 
of puberty furnishes the motive power for these dreams,' p. 193. Further, 
' I am of the opinion that the frequent modifications of the typical dream 
of dental irritation — that e.g. of another person drawing the tooth from the 
dreamer's mouth — are made intelligible by means of the same explanation. 
It may seem problematic, however, how " dental irritation " can arrive at this 
significance. I here call attention to the transference from below to above 
(in the dream in question from the lower to the upper jaw), which occurs 
so frequently, which is at the service of sexual repression, and by means of 
which all kinds of sensations and intentions occurring in hysteria which 
ought to be enacted in the genitals can be realised upon less objectionable 
parts of the body,' p. 194. ' But I must also refer to another connection 
contained in an idiomatic expression. In our country there is in use an 
indelicate designation for the act of masturbation, namely : To pull one out, 
or to pull one down,' p. 195, 2nd edition. This expression had been familiar 
to me in early youth as a designation for onanism, and from here on it will 
not be difficult for the experienced dream interpreter to get access to the 
infantile material which may lie at the basis of this dream. I only wish 
to add that the facility with which the tooth in the dream came out, and 
the fact that it became transformed after coming out into an upper incisor, 
recalls to me an experience of childhood when I myself easily and painlessly 
pulled out one of my wobbling front teeth. This episode, which I can still 
to this day distinctly remember with all its details, happened at the same 
early period in which my first conscious attempts at onanism began — 
(Concealing Memory). 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 237 

uncle has never made a child fly by running across the room 
with it with arms outstretched, or has never played falling 
with it by rocking it on his knee and then suddenly stretching 
out his leg, or by lifting it up high and then pretending to 
withdraw support. At this the children shout with joy, and 
demand more untiringly, especially if there is a little fright 

The reference of Freud to an assertion of C. G. Jung that dreams of 
dental irritation in women signify parturition (footnote p. 194), together 
with the popular belief in the significance of toothache in pregnant women, 
has established an opposition between the feminine significance and the 
masculine (puberty). In this connection I recall an earlier dream which I 
dreamed soon after I was discharged by the dentist after the treatment, that 
the gold crowns which had just been put in fell out, whereupon I was greatly 
chagrined in the dream on account of the considerable expense, concerning 
which I had not yet stopped worrying. In view of a certain experience this 
dream now becomes comprehensible as a commendation of the material 
advantages of masturbation when contrasted with every form of the economi- 
cally less advantageous object-love (gold crowns are also Austrian gold 
coins). 

Theoretically this case seems to show a double interest. First it verifies 
the connection revealed by Freud, inasmuch as the ejaculation in the dream 
takes place during the act of tooth-pulling. For no matter in what form 
a pollution may appear, we are obliged to look upon it as a masturbatic 
gratification which takes place without the help of mechanical excitation. 
Moreover the gratification by pollution in this case does not take place, as is 
usually the case, through an imaginary object, but it is without an object ; 
and, if one may be allowed to say so, it is purely autoerotic, or at most it 
perhaps shows a slight homosexual thread (the dentist). 

The second point which seems to be worth mentioning is the following : 
The objection is quite obvious that we are seeking here to validate the 
Freudian conception in a quite superfluous manner, for the experiences of 
the reading itself are perfectly sufficient to explain to us the content of the 
dream. The visit to the dentist, the conversation with the lady, and the 
reading of the Traumdeutung are sufficient to explain why the sleeper, who 
was also disturbed during the night by toothache, should dream this dream, 
it may even explain the removal of the sleep-disturbing pain (by means of 
the presentation of the removal of the painful tooth and simultaneous over- 
accentuation of the dreaded painful sensation through libido). But no 
matter how much of this assumption we may admit, we cannot earnestly 
maintain that the readings of Freud's explanations have produced in the 
dreamer the connection of the tooth-pulling with the act of masturbation ; 
it could not even have been made effective had it not been for the fact, 
as the dreamer himself admitted ('to pull one off') that this association 
had already been formed long ago. What may have still more stimulated 
this association in connection with the conversation with the lady is shown 
by a later assertion of the dreamer that while reading the Traumdeutung he 
could not, for obvious reasons, believe in this typical meaning of dreams of 
dental irritation, and entertained the wish to know whether it held true for 
all dreams of this nature. The dream now confirms this at least for his own 
person, and shows him why he had to doubt it. The dream is therefore also 
in this respect the fulfilment of a wish ; namely, to be convinced of the 
importance and stability of this conception of Freud." 



238 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

and dizziness attached to it ; in after years they create a 
repetition of this in the dream, but in the dream they omit 
the hands which have held them, so that they now freely float 
and fall. The fondness of all small children for games like 
rocking and see-sawing is well known ; and if they see gym- 
nastic tricks at the circus their recollection of this rocking is 
refreshed. With some boys the hysterical attack consists 
simply in the reproduction of such tricks, which they accom- 
plish with great skill. Not infrequently sexual sensations are 
excited by these movement games, harmless as they are in 
themselves.* To express the idea by a word which is current 
among us, and which covers all of these matters : It is the wild 
playing (" Hetzen ") of childhood which dreams about flying, 
falling, vertigo, and the like repeat, and the voluptuous feelings 
of which have now been turned into fear. But as every 
mother knows, the wild playing of children has often enough 
culminated in quarrelling and tears. 

I therefore have good reason for rejecting the explanation 
that the condition of our dermal sensations during sleep, the 
sensations caused by the movements of the lungs, and the 
like, give rise to dreams of flying and falling. I see that these 
very sensations have been reproduced from the memory with 
which the dream is concerned — that they are, therefore, a part 
of the dream content and not of the dream sources. 

This material, similar in its character and origin consisting 
of sensations of motion, is now used for the representation of 
the most manifold dream thoughts. Dreams of flying, for 
the most part characterised by delight, require the most widely 
different interpretations — altogether special interpretations in 
the case of some persons, and even interpretations of a typical 
nature in that of others. One of my patients was in the habit 
of dreaming very often that she was suspended above the 

* A young colleague, who is entirely free from nervousness, tells me in 
this connection : " I know from my own experience that while swinging, 
and at the moment at which the downward movement had the greatest 
impetus, I used to get a curious feeling in my genitals, which I must desig- 
nate, although it was not really pleasant to me, as a voluptuous feeling." 
I have often heard from patients that their first erections accompanied by 
voluptuous sensations had occurred in boyhood while they were climbing. 
It is established with complete certainty by psychoanalyses that the first 
sexual impulses have often originated in the scufflings and wrestlings of 
childhood. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 239 

street at a certain height, without touching the ground. She 
had grown only to a very small stature, and shunned every 
kind of contamination which accompanies intercourse with 
human beings. Her dream of suspension fulfilled both of her 
wishes, by raising her feet from the ground and by allowing her 
head to tower in the upper regions. In the case of other 
female dreamers the dream of flying had the significance of a 
longing : If I were a little bird ; others thus become angels 
at night because they have missed being called that by day. 
The intimate connection between flying and the idea of a bird 
makes it comprehensible that the dream of flying in the case 
of men usually has a significance of coarse sensuality.* We 
shall also not be surprised to hear that this or that dreamer is 
always very proud of his ability to fly. 

Dr. Paul Federn (Vienna) has propounded the fascinating 
theory that a great many flying dreams are erection dreams, 
since the remarkable phenomena of erection which so con- 
stantly occupy the human phantasy must strongly impress 
upon it a notion of the suspension of gravity (c/. the winged 
phalli of the ancients). 

Dreams of falling are most frequently characterised by 
fear. Their interpretation, when they occur in women, is 
subject to no difficulty because women always accept the 
symbolic sense of falling, which is a circumlocution for the 
indulgence of an erotic temptation. We have not yet ex- 
hausted the infantile sources of the dream of falling ; nearly 
all children have fallen occasionally, and then been picked up 
and fondled ; if they fell out of bed at night, they were picked 
up by their nurse and taken into her bed. 

People who dream often of swimming, of cleaving the waves, 
with great enjoyment, &c, have usually been persons who 
wetted their beds, and they now repeat in the dream a pleasure 
which they have long since learned to forgo. We shall soon 
learn from one example or another to what representation the 
dreams of swimming easily lend themselves. 

The interpretation of dreams about fire justifies a pro- 
hibition of the nursery which forbids children to burn matches 
in order that they may not wet the bed at night. They too are 

* This naturally holds true only for German-speaking dreamers who are 
acquainted with the vulgarism " vögeln." 



240 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

based on the reminiscence of enuresis noctumus of childhood. 
In the Bruchstück einer Hysterieanälyse, 1905,* I have given 
the complete analysis and synthesis of such a fire-dream in 
connection with the infantile history of the dreamer, and have 
shown to the representation of what emotions this infantile 
material has been utilised in maturer years. 

It would be possible to cite a considerable number of other 
" typical " dreams, if these are understood to refer to the 
frequent recurrence of the same manifest dream content in 
the case of different dreamers, as, for example : dreams of 
passing through narrow alleys, of walking through a whole 
suite of rooms ; dreams of the nocturnal burglar against whom 
nervous people direct precautionary measures before going to 
sleep ; dreams of being chased by wild animals (bulls, horses), 
or of being threatened with knives, daggers, and lances. The 
last two are characteristic as the manifest dream content of 
persons suffering from anxiety, &c. An investigation dealing 
especially with this material would be well worth while. In 
lieu of this I have two remarks to offer, which, however, do not 
apply exclusively to typical dreams. 

I. The more one is occupied with the solution of dreams, 
the more willing one must become to acknowledge that the 
majority of the dreams of adults treat of sexual material and 
give expression to erotic wishes. Only one who really analyses 
dreams, that is to say, who pushes forward from their manifest 
content to the latent dream thoughts, can form an opinion on 
this subject — never the person who is satisfied with registering 
the manifest content (as, for example, Nacke in his works on 
sexual dreams). Let us recognise at once that this fact is 
not to be wondered at, but that it is in complete harmony with 
the fundamental assumptions of dream explanation. No 
other impulse has had to undergo so much suppression from 
the time of childhood as the sex impulse in its numerous com- 
ponents, t from no other impulse have survived so many and 
such intense unconscious wishes, which now act in the sleeping 
state in such a manner as to produce dreams. In dream 
interpretation, this significance of sexual complexes must never 

* Sammlung kl. Schriften zur Neurosenlehre, zweite Folge, 1909. 
f Of. the author's Three Contributions to the Sexual Theory, translated by 
A. A. Brill. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 241 

be forgotten, nor must they, of course, be exaggerated to the 
point of being considered exclusive. 

Of many dreams it can be ascertained by a careful inter- 
pretation that they are even to be taken bisexually, inasmuch as 
they result in an irrefutable secondary interpretation in which 
they realise homosexual feelings — that is, feelings that are 
common to the normal sexual activity of the dreaming person. 
But that all dreams are to be interpreted bisexually, as main- 
tained by W. Stekel,* and Alf. Adler, f seems to me to be a 
generalisation as indemonstrable as it is improbable, which I 
should not like to support. Above all I should not know how 
to dispose of the apparent fact that there are many dreams 
satisfying other than — in the widest sense — erotic needs, as 
dreams of hunger, thirst, convenience, &c. Likewise the 
similar assertions " that behind every dream one finds the 
death sentence " (Stekel), and that every dream shows " a 
continuation from the feminine to the masculine line " (Adler), 
seem to me to proceed far beyond what is admissible in the 
interpretation of dreams. 

We have already asserted elsewhere that dreams which 
are conspicuously innocent invariably embody coarse erotic 
wishes, and we might confirm this by means of numerous fresh 
examples. But many dreams which appear indifferent, and 
which would never be suspected of any particular significance, 
can be traced back, after analysis, to unmistakably sexual 
wish-feelings, which are often of an unexpected nature. For 
example, who would suspect a sexual wish in the following 
dream until the interpretation had been worked out ? The 
dreamer relates : Between two stately palaces stands a little 
house, receding somewhat, whose doors are closed. My wife 
leads me a little way along the street up to the little house, and 
pushes in the door, and then I slip quickly and easily into the 
interior of a courtyard that slants obliquely upwards. 

Anyone who has had experience in the translating of dreams 
will, of course, immediately perceive that penetrating into 
narrow spaces, and opening locked doors, belong to the 

* W. Stekel, Die Sprache des Traumes, 1911. 

t Alf. Adler, "Der Psychische Hermaphroditisrnus im Leben und in der 
Nexirose," Fortschrifte der Medizin, 1910, No. 16, and later works in the 
Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse, 1, 1910-1911. 



242 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

commonest sexual symbolism, and will easily find in this 
dream a representation of attempted coition from behind 
(between the two stately buttocks of the female body). The 
narrow slanting passage is of course the vagina ; the assistance 
attributed to the wife of the dreamer requires the interpretation 
that in reality it is only consideration for the wife which is 
responsible for the detention from such an attempt. Moreover, 
inquiry shows that on the previous day a young girl had entered 
the household of the dreamer who had pleased him, and who 
had given him the impression that she would not be altogether 
opposed to an approach of this sort. The little house between 
the two palaces is taken from a reminiscence of the Hradschin 
in Prague, and thus points again to the girl who is a native of 
that city. 

If with my patients I emphasise the frequency of the 
Oedipus dream — of having sexual intercourse with one's 
mother — I get the answer : "I cannot remember such a 
dream." Immediately afterwards, however, there arises the 
recollection of another disguised and indifferent dream, which 
has been dreamed repeatedly by the patient, and the analysis 
shows it to be a dream of this same content — that is, another 
Oedipus dream. I can assure the reader that veiled dreams of 
sexual intercourse with the mother are a great deal more 
frequent than open ones to the same effect.* 

There are dreams about landscapes and localities in which 
emphasis is always laid upon the assurance : "I have been 
there before." In this case the locality is always the genital 
organ of the mother ; it can indeed be asserted with such 

* I have published a typical example of such a veiled Oedipus dream in 
No. 1 of the Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse ; another with a detailed analysis 
was reported in the same journal, No. IV., by Otto Rank. Indeed the 
ancients were not unfamiliar with tbe symbolic interpretation of the open 
Oedipus dream (see 0. Rank, 106 p. 534) ; thus a dream of sexual relations 
with the motber has been transmitted to us by Julius Caesar which the 
oneiroscopists interpreted as a favourable omen for taking possession of the 
earth (Mother-earth). It is also known that the oracle declared to the 
Tarquinii that that one of them would become ruler of Eome who should 
first kiss the mother (osculum matri tulerit), which Brutus conceived as 
referring to the mother-earth (terra/m osculo contigit, scilicet quod ea communia 
mater omnium mortalium esset, Livius, I., lxi.). These myths and interpreta- 
tions point to a correct psychological knowledge. I have found that persons 
who consider themselves preferred or favoured by their mothers manifest 
in life that confidence in themselves and that firm optimism which often 
seems heroic and brings about real success by force. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 243 

certainty of no other locality that one " has been there 
before." 

A large number of dreams, often full of fear, which are con- 
cerned with passing through narrow spaces or with staying in 
the water, are based upon fancies about the embryonic life, 
about the sojourn in the mother's womb, and about the act 
of birth. The following is the dream of a young man who in 
his fancy has already while in embryo taken advantage of 
his opportunity to spy upon an act of coition between his 
parents. 

" He is in a deep shaft, in which there is a window, as in the 
Semmering Tunnel. At first he sees an empty landscape through 
this window, and then he composes a picture into it, which is 
immediately at hand and which fills out the empty space. The 
picture represents a field which is being thoroughly harrowed by an 
implement, and the delightful air, the accompanying idea of hard 
work, and the bluish-black clods of earth make a pleasant im- 
pression. He then goes on and sees a primary school opened . . . 
and he is surprised that so much attention is devoted in it to the 
sexual feelings of the child, which makes him think of me." 

Here is a pretty water-dream of a female patient, which 
was turned to extraordinary account in the course of treat- 
ment. 

At her summer resort at the . . . Lake, she hurls herself into 
the dark water at a place where the pale moon is reflected in the 
water. 

Dreams of this sort are parturition dreams ; their inter- 
pretation is accomplished by reversing the fact reported in 
the manifest dream content ; thus, instead of " throwing one's 
self into the water," read " coming out of the water," that is, 
" being born." The place from which one is born is recognised 
if one thinks of the bad sense of the French " la lune." The 
pale moon thus becomes the white " bottom " (Popo), which 
the child soon recognises as the place from which it came. 
Now what can be the meaning of the patient's wishing to be 
born at her summer resort ? I asked the dreamer this, and 
she answered without hesitation : " Hasn't the treatment 
made me as though I were born again ? " Thus the dream 
becomes an invitation to continue the cure at this summer 
resort, that is, to visit her there ; perhaps it also contains 



244 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

a very bashful allusion to the wish to become a mother 
herself.* 

Another dream of parturition, with its interpretation, I 
take from the work of E. Jones. 95 " She stood at the seashore 
watching a small boy, who seemed to be hers, wading into the 
water. This he did till the water covered him, and she could only 
see his head bobbing up and down near the surface. The scene 
then changed to the crowded hall of a hotel. Her husband left 
her, and she ' entered into conversation with ' a stranger." The 
second half of the dream was discovered in the analysis to 
represent a flight from her husband, and the entering into inti- 
mate relations with a third person, behind whom was plainly 
indicated Mr. X.'s brother mentioned in a former dream. The 
first part of the dream was a fairly evident birth phantasy. In 
dreams as in mythology, the delivery of a child from the uterine 
waters is commonly presented by distortion as the entry of the 
child into water ; among many others, the births of Adonis, 
Osiris, Moses, and Bacchus are well-known illustrations of this. 
The bobbing up and down of the head in the water at once 
recalled to the patient the sensation of quickening she had 
experienced in her only pregnancy. Thinking of the boy going 
into the water induced a reverie in which she saw herself taking 
him out of the water, carrying him into the nursery, washing 
him and dressing him, and installing him in her household. 

The second half of the dream, therefore, represents thoughts 
concerning the elopement, which belonged to the first half of 
the underlying latent content ; the first half of the dream cor- 
responded with the second half of the latent content, the birth 
phantasy. Besides this inversion in order, further inversions 
took place in each half of the dream. In the first half the child 
entered the water, and then his head bobbed ; in the underlying 
dream thoughts first the quickening occurred, and then the child 
left the water (a double inversion). In the second half her 
husband left her ; in the dream thoughts she left her husband. 

* It is only of late that I have learned to value the significance of fancies 
and unconscious thoughts about life in the womb. They contain the ex- 
planation of the curious fear felt by so many people of being buried alive, 
as well as the profoundest unconscious reason for the belief in a life after 
death which represents nothing but a projection into the future of this 
mysterious life before birth. The act of birth, moreover, is the first experience 
with fear, and is thus the source and model of the emotion of fear. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 245 

Another parturition dream is related by Abraham 79 of a 
young woman looking forward to her first confinement (p. 22) : 
From a place in the floor of the house a subterranean canal leads 
directly into the water (parturition path, amniotic liquor). She 
lifts up a trap in the floor, and there immediately appears a 
creature dressed in a brownish fur, which almost resembles 
a seal. This creature changes into the younger brother of 
the dreamer, to whom she has always stood in maternal 
relationship. 

Dreams of " saving " are connected with parturition dreams. 
To save, especially to save from the water, is equivalent to 
giving birth when dreamed by a woman ; this sense is, however, 
modified when the dreamer is a man.* 

Robbers, burglars at night, and ghosts, of which we are 
afraid before going to bed, and which occasionally even disturb 
our sleep, originate in one and the same childish reminiscence. 
They are the nightly visitors who have awakened the child to 
set it on the chamber so that it may not wet the bed, or have 
lifted the clover in order to see clearly how the child is holding 
its hands while sleeping. I have been able to induce an exact 
recollection of the nocturnal visitor hi the analysis of some of 
these anxiety dreams. The robbers were always the father, 
the ghosts more probably corresponded to feminine persons 
with white night-gowns. 

II. When one has become familiar with the abundant use 
of symbolism for the representation of sexual material in 
dreams, one naturally raises the question whether there are 
not many of these symbols which appear once and for all with 
a firmly established significance like the signs in stenography ; 
and one is tempted to compile a new dream-book according to 
the cipher method. In this connection it may be remarked 
that this symbolism does not belong peculiarly to the dream, 
but rather to unconscious thinking, particularly that of the 
masses, and it is to be found in greater perfection in the folk- 
lore, in the myths, legends, and manners of speech, in the 

* For such a dream see Pfister : " Ein Fall von Psychanalytischer Seelen- 
sorge und Seelenheilung," Evangelische Freiheit, 1909. Concerning the symbol 
of "saving" see my lecture, "Die Zukünftigen Chancen der psychoanaly- 
tischen Therapie," Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse, No I., 1910. Also "Beit- 
räge zur Psychologie des Liebeslebens, I. Ueber einen besonderen Typus der 
objektwahl beim Manne," Jahrbuch, Bleuler-Freud, vol. ii., 1910. 



246 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

proverbial sayings, and in the current witticisms of a nation 
than in its dreams.* 

The dream takes advantage of this symbolism in order to 
give a disguised representation to its latent thoughts. Among 
the symbols which are used in this manner there are of course 
many which regularly, or almost regularly, mean the same thing. 
Only it is necessary to keep in mind the curious plasticity of 
psychic material. Now and then a symbol in the dream content 
may have to be interpreted not symbolically, but according to 
its real meaning ; at another time the dreamer, owing to a 
peculiar set of recollections, may create for himself the right to 
use anything whatever as a sexual symbol, though it is not 
ordinarily used in that way. Nor are the most frequently 
used sexual symbols unambiguous every time. 

After these limitations and reservations I may call attention 
to the following : Emperor and Empress (King and Queen) in 
most cases really represent the parents of the dreamer ; f 
the dreamer himself or herself is the prince or princess. All 
elongated objects, sticks, tree-trunks, and umbrellas (on account 
of the stretching-up which might be compared to an erection ! 
all elongated and sharp weapons, knives, daggers, and pikes, 
are intended to represent the male member. A frequent, not 
very intelligible, symbol for the same is a nail-file (on account 
of the rubbing and scraping ?). Little cases, boxes, caskets, 
closets, and stoves correspond to the female part. The sym- 
bolism of lock and key has been very gracefully employed by 
Unland in his song about the " Grafen Eberstein," to make a 
common smutty joke. The dream of walking through a row 
of rooms is a brothel or harem dream. Staircases, ladders, and 
nights of stairs, or climbing on these, either upwards or down- 
wards, are symbolic representations of the sexual act. J Smooth 

* Cf. the works of Bleuler and of his pupils Maeder, Abraham, and 
others of the Zurich school upon symbolism, and of those authors who are 
not physicians (Kleinpaul and others), to which they refer. 

T In this country the President, the Governor, and the Mayor often 
represent the father in the dream. (Translator.) 

X I may here repeat what I have said in another place ("Die Zukünf- 
tigen Chancen der psychoanalytischen Therapie," Zentralblatt für Psycho- 
analyse, I., No. 1 and 2, 1910) : " Some time ago I learned that a psychologist 
who is unfamiliar with our work remarked to one of my friends that we are 
surely over-estimating the secret sexual significance of dreams. He stated 
that his most frequent dream was of climbing a stairway, and that there 
was surely nothing sexual behind this. Our attention having been called 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 247 

walls over which one is climbing, facades of houses upon 
which one is letting oneself down, frequently under great 
anxiety, correspond to the erect human body, and probably 
repeat in the dream reminiscences of the upward climbing of 
little children on their parents or foster parents. " Smooth " 
walls are men. Often in a dream of anxiety one is holding on 
firmly to some projection from a house. Tables, set tables, 
and boards are women, perhaps on account of the opposition 
which does away with the bodily contours. Since " bed and 
board " (mensa et thorus) constitute marriage, the former are 
often put for the latter in the dream, and as far as practicable 
the sexual presentation complex is transposed to the eating 
complex. Of articles of dress the woman's hat may frequently 
be definitely interpreted as the male genital. In dreams of 
men one often finds the cravat as a symbol for the penis ; this 
indeed is not only because cravats hang down long, and are 
characteristic of the man, but also because one can select them 
at pleasure, a freedom which is prohibited by nature in the 
original of the symbol. Persons who make use of this symbol 
in the dream are very extravagant with cravats, and possess 
regular collections of them.* All complicated machines and 
apparatus in dream are very probably genitals, in the descrip- 
tion of which dream symbolism shows itself to be as tireless as 
the activity of wit. Likewise many landscapes in dreams, 
especially with bridges or with wooded mountains, can be 
readily recognised as descriptions of the genitals. Finally 
where one finds incomprehensible neologisms one may think 
of combinations made up of components having a sexual 

to this objection, we directed our investigations to the occurrence of stair- 
ways, stairs, and ladders in the dream, and we soon ascertained that stairs 
(or anything analogous to them) represent a definite symbol of coitus. The 
basis for this comparison is not difficult to find ; under rhythmic intervals 
and with increasing difficulty in breathing one reaches to a height, and may 
come down again in a few rapid jumps. Thus the rhythm of coitus is re- 
cognisable in climbing stairs. Let us not forget to consider the usage of 
language. It shows us that the "climbing" or "mounting" is, without 
further addition, \ised as a substitutive designation of the sexual act. In 
French the step of the stairway is called " la marche" ; " un vieux niarcheur" 
corresponds exactly to our "an old climber." 

* In this country where the word " necktie " is almost exclusively used, 
the translator has also found it to be a symbol of a burdensome woman 
from whom the dreamer longs to be freed — " necktie — something tied to my 
neck like a heavy weight — my fiancee," are the associations from the dream 
of a man who eventually broke his marriage engagement. 



248 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

significance. Children also in the dream often signify the 
genitals, as men and women are in the habit of fondly referring 
to their genital organ as their " little one." As a very recent 
symbol of the male genital may be mentioned the flying machine, 
utilisation of which is justified by its relation to flying as well 
as occasionally by its form. To play with a little child or to 
beat a little one is often the dream's representation of onanism. 
A number of other symbols, in part not sufficiently verified, 
are given by Stekel, 114 who illustrates them with examples. 
Right and left, according to him, are to be conceived in the 
dream in an ethical sense. " The right way always signifies 
the road to righteousness, the left the one to crime. Thus the 
left may signify homosexuality, incest, and perversion, while 
the right signifies marriage, relations with a prostitute, &c. 
The meaning is always determined by the individual moral 
view-point of the dreamer " (I.e., p. 466). Relatives in the 
dream generally play the role of genitals (p. 473). Not to be 
able to catch up with a wagon is interpreted by Stekel as 
regret not to be able to come up to a difference in age (p. 479). 
Baggage with which one travels is the burden of sin by which 
one is oppressed (ibid.). Also numbers, which frequently 
occur in the dream, are assigned by Stekel a fixed symbolical 
meaning, but these interpretations seem neither sufficiently 
verified nor of general validity, although the interpretation in 
individual cases can generally be recognised as probable. In 
a recently published book by W. Stekel, Die Sprache des 
Traumes, which I was unable to utilise, there is a list (p. 72) 
of the most common sexual symbols, the object of which is to 
prove that all sexual symbols can be bisexually used. He 
states : "Is there a symbol which (if in any way permitted by 
the phantasy) may not be used simultaneously in the masculine 
and the feminine sense ! " To be sure the clause in parentheses 
takes away much of the absoluteness of this assertion, for 
this is not at all permitted by the phantasy. I do not, however, 
think it superfluous to state that in my experience Stekel's 
general statement has to give way to the recognition of a 
greater manifoldness. Besides those symbols, which are just 
as frequent for the male as for the female genitals, there are 
others which preponderately, or almost exclusively, designate 
one of the sexes, and there are still others of which only the 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 249 

male or only the female signification is known. To use long, 
firm objects and weapons as symbols of the female genitals, 
or hollow objects (chests, boxes, pouches, &c), as symbols of 
the male genitals, is indeed not allowed by the fancy. 

It is true that the tendency of the dream and the uncon- 
scious fancy to utilise the sexual symbol bisexually betrays 
an archaic trend, for in childhood a difference in the genitals 
is unknown, and the same genitals are attributed to both 
sexes. 

These very incomplete suggestions may suffice to stimulate 
others to make a more careful collection.* 

I shall now add a few examples of the application of such 
symbolisms in dreams, which will serve to show how im- 
possible it becomes to interpret a dream without taking into 
account the symbolism of dreams, and how imperatively it 
obtrudes itself in many cases. 

1. The hat as a symbol of the man (of the male genital) : f 
(a fragment from the dream of a young woman who suffered 
from agoraphobia on account of a fear of temptation). 

" I am walking in the street in summer, I wear a straw hat 
of peculiar shape, the middle piece of which is bent upwards 
and the side pieces of which hang downwards (the description 
became here obstructed), and in such a fashion that one is 
lower than the other. I am cheerful and in a confidential 
mood, and as I pass a troop of young officers I think to myself : 
None of you can have any designs upon me." 

As she could produce no associations to the hat, I said to 
her : " The hat is really a male genital, with its raised middle 
piece and the two downward hanging side pieces." I inten- 
tionally refrained from interpreting those details concerning 
the unequal downward hanging of the two side pieces, although 
just such individualities in the determinations lead the way to 
the interpretation. I continued by saying that if she only had 
a man with such a virile genital she would not have to fear the 

* In spite of all the differences between Schemer's conception of dream 
symbolism and the one developed here, I must still assert that Scherner 68 
should be recognised as the true discoverer of symbolism in dreams, and that 
the experience of psychoanalysis has brought his book into honourable repute 
after it had been considered fantastic for about fifty years. 

t From " Nachträge zur Traumdeutung," Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse, I., 
No. 5 and 6, 1911. 



250 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

officers — that is, she would have nothing to wish from them, 
for she is mainly kept from going without protection and 
company by her fancies of temptation. This last explanation 
of her fear I had already been able to give her repeatedly on 
the basis of other material. 

It is quite remarkable how the dreamer behaved after this 
interpretation. She withdrew her description of the hat, and 
claimed not to have said that the two side pieces were hanging 
downwards. I was, however, too sure of what I had heard to 
allow myself to be misled, and I persisted in it. She was quiet 
for a while, and then found the courage to ask why it was that 
one of her husband's testicles was lower than the other, and 
whether it was the same in all men. With this the peculiar 
detail of the hat was explained, and the whole interpretation 
was accepted by her. The hat symbol was familiar to me 
long before the patient related this dream. From other but 
less transparent cases I believe that the hat may also be taken 
as a female genital. 

2. The little one as the genital — to be run over as a symbol 
of sexual intercourse (another dream of the same agoraphobic 
patient). 

" Her mother sends away her little daughter so that she 
must go alone. She rides with her mother to the railroad and 
sees her little one walking directly upon the tracks, so that she 
cannot avoid being run over. She hears the bones crackle. 
(From this she experiences a feeling of discomfort but no real 
horror.) She then looks out through the car window to see 
whether the parts cannot be seen behind. She then reproaches 
her mother for allowing the little one to go out alone." 
Analysis. It is not an easy matter to give here a complete 
interpretation of the dream. It forms part of a cycle of dreams, 
and can be fully understood only in connection with the others. 
For it is not easy to get the necessary material sufficiently 
isolated to prove the symbolism. The patient at first finds 
that the railroad journey is to be interpreted historically as an 
allusion to a departure from a sanitorium for nervous diseases, 
with the superintendent of which she naturally was in love. 
Her mother took her away from this place, and the physician 
came to the railroad station and handed her a bouquet of 
flowers on leaving ; she felt uncomfortable because her mother 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 251 

witnessed this homage. Here the mother, therefore, appears 
as a disturber of her love affairs, which is the role actually 
played by this strict woman during her daughter's girlhood. 
The next thought referred to the sentence : " She then looks 
to see whether the parts can be seen behind." In the dream 
facade one would naturally be compelled to think of the parts 
of the little daughter run over and ground up. The thought, 
however, turns in quite a different direction. She recalls 
that she once saw her father in the bath-room naked from 
behind ; she then begins to talk about the sex differentiation, 
and asserts that in the man the genitals can be seen from 
behind, but in the woman they cannot. In this connection 
she now herself offers the interpretation that the little one is 
the genital, her little one (she has a four-year-old daughter) 
her own genital. She reproaches her mother for wanting her 
to live as though she had no genital, and recognises this re- 
proach in the introductory sentence of the dream ; the mother 
sends away her little one so that she must go alone. In her 
phantasy going alone on the street signifies to have no man and 
no sexual relations (coire = to go together), and this she does 
not like. According to all her statements she really suffered 
as a girl on account of the jealousy of her mother, because she 
showed a preference for her father. 

The " little one " has been noted * as a symbol for the male 
or the female genitals by Stekel, who can refer in this connec- 
tion to a very widespread usage of language. 

The deeper interpretation of this dream depends upon 
another dream of the same night in which the dreamer 
identifies herself with her brother. She was a " tomboy," 
and was always being told that she should have been born a 
boy. This identification with the brother shows with special 
clearness that " the little one " signifies the genital. The 
mother threatened him (her) with castration, which could only 
be understood as a punishment for playing with the parts, 
and the identification, therefore, shows that she herself had 
masturbated as a child, though this fact she now retained only 

* " Beiträge zur Traumdeutung," Jahrbuch für Psychoanalyt. und psychop. 
Forsch., Bd. I., 1909, p. 473. Here also (p. 475) a dream is reported in 
which a hat with a feather standing obliquely in the middle symbolises the 
(impotent) man. 



252 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

in a memory concerning her brother. An early knowledge of 
the male genital which she later lost she must have acquired at 
that time according to the assertions of this second dream. 
Moreover the second dream points to the infantile sexual theory 
that girls originate from boys through castration. After I had 
told her of this childish belief , she at once confirmed it with an 
anecdote in which the boy asks the girl : " Was it cut off ? " 
to which the girl replied, " No, it's always been so." 

The sending away of the little one, of the genital, in the 
first dream therefore also refers to the threatened castration. 
Finally she blames her mother for not having been born a boy. 

That " being run over " symbolises sexual intercourse would 
not be evident from this dream if we were not sure of it from 
many other sources. 

3. Representation of the genital by structures, stairways, 
and shafts. (Dream of a young man inhibited by a father 
complex.) 

" He is taking a walk with his father in a place which is 
surely the Prater, for the Rotunda may be seen in front of which 
there is a small front structure to which is attached a captive 
balloon ; the balloon, however, seems quite collapsed. His 
father asks him what this is all for ; he is surprised at it, but 
he explains it to his father. They come into a court in which 
lies a large sheet of tin. His father wants to pull off a big 
piece of this, but first looks around to see if anyone is watching. 
He tells his father that all he needs to do is to speak to the 
watchman, and then he can take without any further difficulty 
as much as he wants to. From this court a stairway leads 
down into a shaft, the walls of which are softly upholstered 
something like a leather pocketbook. At the end of this shaft 
there is a longer platform, and then a new shaft begins . . ." 

Analysis. This dream belongs to a type of patient which 
is not favourable from a therapeutic point of view. They 
follow in the analysis without offering any resistances whatever 
up to a certain point, but from that point on they remain 
almost inaccessible. This dream he almost analysed himself. 
" The Rotunda," he said, " is my genital, the captive balloon 
in front is my penis, about the weakness of which I have 
worried. We must, however, interpret in greater detail ; the 
Rotunda is the buttock which is regularly associated by the 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 253 

child with the genital, the smaller front structure is the 
scrotum. In the dream his father asks him what this is all 
for — that is, he asks him about the purpose and arrangement 
of the genitals. It is quite evident that this state of affairs 
should be turned around, and that he should be the questioner. 
As such a questioning on the side of the father has never taken 
place in reality, we must conceive the dream thought as a wish, 
or take it conditionally, as follows : " If I had only asked my 
father for sexual enlightenment." The continuation of this 
thought we shall soon find in another place. 

The court in which the tin sheet is spread out is not to be 
conceived symbolically in the first instance, but originates 
from his father's place of business. For discretionary reasons 
I have inserted the tin for another material in which the father 
deals, without, however, changing anything in the verbal ex- 
pression of the dream. The dreamer had entered his father's 
business, and had taken a terrible dislike to the questionable 
practices upon which profit mainly depends. Hence the con- 
tinuation of the above dream thought ("if I had only asked 
him ") would be : " He would have deceived me just as he 
does his customers." For the pulling off, which serves to 
represent commercial dishonesty, the dreamer himself gives a 
second explanation — namely, onanism. This is not only 
entirely familiar to us (see above, p. 234), but agrees very well 
with the fact that the secrecy of onanism is expressed by its 
opposite (" Why one can do it quite openly "). It, moreover, 
agrees entirely with our expectations that the onanistic activity 
is again put off on the father, just as was the questioning in the 
first scene of the dream. The shaft he at once interprets as 
the vagina by referring to the soft upholstering of the walls. 
That the act of coition in the vagina is described as a going 
down instead of in the usual way as a going up, I have also 
found true in other instances.* 

The details that at the end of the first shaft there is a 
longer platform and then a new shaft, he himself explains 
biographically. He had for some time consorted with women 
sexually, but had then given it up because of inhibitions and 
now hopes to be able to take it up again with the aid of the 
treatment. The dream, however, becomes indistinct toward 

* Cf. Zentralblatt für psychoanalyse, I. 



254 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

the end, and to the experienced interpreter it becomes evident 
that in the second scene of the dream the influence of another 
subject has begun to assert itself ; in this his father's business 
and his dishonest practices signify the first vagina represented 
as a shaft so that one might think of a reference to the mother. 

4. The male genital symbolised by persons and the female 
by a landscape. 

(Dream of a woman of the lower class, whose husband is a 
policeman, reported by B. Dattner.) 

. . . Then someone broke into the house and anxiously 
called for a policeman. But he went with two tramps by 
mutual consent into a church,* to which led a great many 
stairs ; f behind the church there was a mountain, J on top of 
which a dense forest.§ The policeman was furnished with a 
helmet, a gorget, and a cloak. || The two vagrants, who went 
along with the policeman quite peaceably, had tied to their 
loins sack-like aprons.1T A road led from the church to the 
mountain. This road was overgrown on each side with grass 
and brushwood, which became thicker and thicker as it reached 
the height of the mountain, where it spread out into quite a 
forest. 

5. A stairway dream. 

(Reported and interpreted by Otto Rank.) 
For the following transparent pollution dream, I am in- 
debted to the same colleague who furnished us with the 
dental-irritation dream reported on p. 235. 

" I am running down the stairway in the stair-house after 
a little girl, whom I wish to punish because she has done some- 
thing to me. At the bottom of the stairs some one held the 
child for me. (A grown-up woman ?) I grasp it, but do not 
know whether I have hit it, for I suddenly find myself in the 
middle of the stairway where I practise coitus with the child 
(in the air as it were). It is really no coitus, I only rub my 
genital on her external genital, and in doing this I see it very 
distinctly, as distinctly as I see her head which is lying 

* Or chapel — vagina. 

t Symbol of coitus. J Mons veneris. § Crines pubis. 

|| DemonB in cloaks and capucines are, according to the explanation of 
a man versed in the subject, of a phallic nature. 
1] The two halves of the scrotum. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 255 

sideways. During the sexual act I see hanging to the left and 
above me (also as if in the air) two small pictures, landscapes, 
representing a house on a green. On the smaller one my 
surname stood in the place where the painter's signature 
should be ; it seemed to be intended for my birthday present. 
A small sign hung in front of the pictures to the effect that 
cheaper pictures could also be obtained. I then see myself 
very indistinctly lying in bed, just as I had seen myself at 
the foot of the stairs, and I am awakened by a feeling of 
dampness which came from the pollution." 

Interpretation. The dreamer had been in a book-store on 
the evening of the day of the dream, where, while he was wait- 
ing, he examined some pictures which were exhibited, which 
represented motives similar to the dream pictures. He stepped 
nearer to a small picture which particularly took his fancy in 
order to see the name of the artist, which, however, was quite 
unknown to him. 

Later in the same evening, in company, he heard about a 
Bohemian servant-girl who boasted that her illegitimate child 
" was made on the stairs." The dreamer inquired about the 
details of this unusual occurrence, and learned that the servant- 
girl went with her lover to the home of her parents, where 
there was no opportunity for sexual relations, and that the 
excited man performed the act on the stairs. In witty allu- 
sion to the mischievous expression used about wine-adulterers, 
the dreamer remarked, " The child really grew on the cellar 
steps." 

These experiences of the day, which are quite prominent 
in the dream content, were readily reproduced by the dreamer. 
But he just as readily reproduced an old fragment of infantile 
recollection which was also utilised by the dream. The stair- 
house was the house in which he had spent the greatest part 
of his childhood, and in which he had first become acquainted 
with sexual problems. In this house he used, among other 
things, to slide down the banister astride which caused him to 
become sexually excited. In the dream he also comes down 
the stairs very rapidly — so rapidly that, according to his own 
distinct assertions, he hardly touched the individual stairs, but 
rather " flew " or " slid down," as we used to say. Upon 
reference to this infantile experience, the beginning of the 



256 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

dream seems to represent the factor of sexual excitement. 
In the same house and in the adjacent residence the dreamer 
used to play pugnacious games with the neighbouring children, 
in which he satisfied himself just as he did in the dream. 

If one recalls from Freud's investigation of sexual sym- 
bolism * that in the dream stairs or climbing stairs almost 
regularly symbolises coitus, the dream becomes clear. Its 
motive power as well as its effect, as is shown by the pollu- 
tion, is of a purely libidinous nature. Sexual excitement 
became aroused during the sleeping state (in the dream this 
is represented by the rapid running or sliding down the stairs) 
and the sadistic thread in this is, on the basis of the pugnacious 
playing, indicated in the pursuing and overcoming of the child. 
The libidinous excitement becomes enhanced and urges to 
sexual action (represented in the dream by the grasping of 
the child and the conveyance of it to the middle of the stair- 
way). Up to this point the dream would be one of pure 
sexual symbolism, and obscure for the unpractised dream 
interpreter. But this symbolic gratification, which would 
have insured undisturbed sleep, was not sufficient for the 
powerful libidinous excitement. The excitement leads to an 
orgasm, and thus the whole stairway symbolism is unmasked 
as a substitute for coitus. Freud lays stress on the rhythmical 
character of both actions as one of the reasons for the sexual 
utilisation of the stairway symbolism, and this dream especi- 
ally seems to corroborate this, for, according to the express 
assertion of the dreamer, the rhythm of a sexual act was the 
most pronounced feature in the whole dream. 

Still another remark concerning the two pictures, which, 
aside from their real significance, also have the value of " Weibs- 
bilder " (literally woman-pictures, but idiomatically women). 
This is at once shown by the fact that the dream deals with 
a big and a little picture, just as the dream content presents 
a big (grown up) and a little girl. That cheap pictures could 
also be obtained points to the prostitution complex, just as 
the dreamer's surname on the little picture and the thought 
that it was intended for his birthday, point to the parent 
complex (to be born on the stairway — to be conceived in 
coitus). 

* See Zentralblatt für Psychoanalyse, vol. i., p. 2. 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 257 

The indistinct final scene, in which the dreamer sees him- 
self on the staircase landing lying in bed and feeling wet, 
seems to go back into childhood even beyond the infantile 
onanism, and manifestly has its prototype in similarly pleasur- 
able scenes of bed-wetting. 

6. A modified stair-dream. 

To one of my very nervous patients, who was an abstainer, 
whose fancy was fixed on his mother, and who repeatedly 
dreamed of climbing stairs accompanied by his mother, I once 
remarked that moderate masturbation would be less harmful 
to him than enforced abstinence. This influence provoked 
the following dream : 

" His piano teacher reproaches him for neglecting his piano- 
playing, and for not practising the Etudes of Moscheles and 
dementi's Gradus ad Parnassum." In relation to this he 
remarked that the Gradus is only a stairway, and that the 
piano itself is only a stairway as it has a scale. 

It is correct to say that there is no series of associations 
which cannot be adapted to the representation of sexual facts. 
I conclude with the dream of a chemist, a young man, who 
has been trying to give up his habit of masturbation by 
replacing it with intercourse with women. 

Preliminary statement. — On the day before the dream he 
had given a student instruction concerning Grignard's reaction, 
in which magnesium is to be dissolved in absolutely pure 
ether under the catalytic influence of iodine. Two days before, 
there had been an explosion in the course of the same reaction, 
in which the investigator had burned his hand. 

Dream I. He is to make phenylmagnesiumbromid ; he sees 
the apparatus with particular clearness, but he has substituted 
himself for the magnesium. He is now in a curious swaying 
attitude. He keeps repeating to himself, " This is the right thing, 
it is working, my feet are beginning to dissolve and my knees 
are getting soft. Then he reaches down and feels for his feet, 
and meanwhile {he does not know how) he takes his legs out of 
the crucible, and then again he says to himself, " That cannot 
be. . . . Yes, it must be so, it has been done correctly." Then 
he partially awakens, and repeats the dream to himself, because 
he wants to tell it to me. He is distinctly afraid of the analysis 



258 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

of the dream. He is much excited during this semi-sleeping state, 
and repeats continually, " Phenyl, phenyl." 

II. He is in . . . ing with his whole family ; at half-past 
eleven. He is to be at the Schottenthor for a rendezvous with a 
certain lady, but he does not wake up until half-past eleven. He 
says to himself, " It is too late now ; when you get there it will 
be half -past twelve." The next instant he sees the whole family 
gathered about the table — his mother and the servant girl with 
the soup-tureen with particular clearness. Then he says to 
himself, " Well, if we are eating already, I certainly can't get 
away." 

Analysis : He feels sure that even the first dream contains 
a reference to the lady whom he is to meet at the rendezvous 
(the dream was dreamed during the night before the expected 
meeting). The student to whom he gave the instruction is a 
particularly unpleasant fellow ; he had said to the chemist : 
" That isn't right," because the magnesium was still unaffected, 
and the latter answered as though he did not care anything 
about it : "It certainly isn't right." He himself must be 
this student ; he is as indifferent towards his analysis as 
the student is towards his synthesis ; the He in the dream, 
however, who accomplishes the operation, is myself. How 
unpleasant he must seem to me with his indifference towards 
the success achieved ! 

Moreover, he is the material with which the analysis (syn- 
thesis) is made. For it is a question of the success of the 
treatment. The legs in the dream recall an impression of the 
previous evening. He met a lady at a dancing lesson whom 
he wished to conquer ; he pressed her to him so closely that 
she once cried out. After he had stopped pressing against 
her legs, he felt her firm responding pressure against his lower 
thighs as far as just above his knees, at the place mentioned 
in the dream. In this situation, then, the woman is the 
magnesium in the retort, which is at last working. He is 
feminine towards me, as he is masculine towards the woman. 
If it will work with the woman, the treatment will also work. 
Feeling and becoming aware of himself in the region of his 
knees refers to masturbation, and corresponds to his fatigue 
of the previous day. . . . The rendezvous had actually been 
set for half -past eleven. His wish to over-sleep and to remain 



THE MATERIAL OF DREAMS 259 

with his usual sexual objects (that is, with masturbation) 
corresponds with his resistance. 

In relation to the repetition of the name phenyl, he gives 
the following thoughts : All these radicals ending in yl have 
always been pleasing to him ; they are very convenient to 
use : benzyl, azetyl, &c. That, however, explained nothing. 
But when I proposed the radical Schlemihl * he laughed 
heartily, and related that during the summer he had read a 
book by Prevost which contained a chapter : " Les exclus de 
l'amour," the description in which made him think of the 
Schlemihls, and he added, " That is my case." He would 
have again acted the Schlemihl if he had missed the rendezvous. 

* This Hebrew word is well known in German-speaking countries, even 
among non-Jews, and signifies an unlucky, awkward person. (Translator.) 



VI 

THE DREAM- WORK 

All previous attempts to solve the problems of the dream 
have been based directly upon the manifest dream content 
as it is retained in the memory, and have undertaken to obtain 
an interpretation of the dream from this content, or, if inter- 
pretation was dispensed with, to base a judgment of the dream 
upon the evidence furnished by this content. We alone are in 
possession of new data ; for us a new psychic material inter- 
venes between the dream content and the results of our 
investigations : and this is the latent dream content or the 
dream thoughts which are obtained by our method. We 
develop a solution of the dream from this latter, and not 
from the manifest dream content. We are also confronted 
for the first time with a problem which has not before existed, 
that of examining and tracing the relations between the latent 
dream thoughts and the manifest dream content, and the 
processes through which the former have grown into the 
latter. 

We regard the dream thoughts and the dream content as 
two representations of the same meaning in two different 
languages ; or to express it better, the dream content appears 
to us as a translation of the dream thoughts into another form 
of expression, whose signs and laws of composition we are to 
learn by comparing the original with the translation. The 
dream thoughts are at once intelligible to us as soon as we 
have ascertained them. The dream content is, as it were, 
presented in a picture-writing, whose signs are to be trans- 
lated one by one into the language of the dream thoughts. 
It would of course be incorrect to try to read these signs 
according to their values as pictures instead of according to 
their significance as signs. For instance, I have before me a 
picture-puzzle (rebus) : a house, upon whose roof there 
is a boat ; then a running figure whose head has been 

260 



THE DREAM- WORK 261 

apostrophised away, and the like. I might now be tempted 
as a critic to consider this composition and its elements non- 
sensical. A boat does not belong on the roof of a house and 
a person without a head cannot run ; the person, too, is larger 
than the house, and if the whole thing is to represent a land- 
scape, the single letters of the alphabet do not fit into it, for 
of course they do not occur in pure nature. A correct judg- 
ment of the picture-puzzle results only if I make no such 
objections to the whole and its parts, but if, on the contrary, 
I take pains to replace each picture by the syllable or word 
which it is capable of representing by means of any sort of 
reference, the words which are thus brought together are no 
longer meaningless, but may constitute a most beautiful and 
sensible expression. Now the dream is a picture-puzzle of 
this sort, and our predecessors in the field of dream inter- 
pretation have made the mistake of judging the rebus as an 
artistic composition. As such it appears nonsensical and 
worthless. 

(a) The Condensation Work 

The first thing which becomes clear to the investigator in 
the comparison of the dream content with the dream thoughts 
is that a tremendous work of condensation has taken place. 
The dream is reserved, paltry, and laconic when compared 
with the range and copiousness of the dream thoughts. The 
dream when written down fills half a page ; the analysis, in 
which the dream thoughts are contained, requires six, eight, 
twelve times as much space. The ratio varies with different 
dreams ; it never changes its essential meaning, as far as I 
have been able to observe. As a rule the extent of the com- 
pression which has taken place is under-estimated, owing to 
the fact that the dream thoughts which are brought to light 
are considered the complete material, while continued work 
of interpretation may reveal new thoughts which are con- 
cealed behind the dream. We have already mentioned that 
one is really never sure of having interpreted a dream com- 
pletely ; even if the solution seems satisfying and flawless, 
it still always remains possible that there is a further meaning 
which is manifested by the same dream. Thus the amount of 
condensation is — strictly speaking — indeterminable. An objec- 



262 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

tion, which at first sight seems very plausible, might be raised 
against the assertion that the disproportion between dream 
content and dream thought justifies the conclusion that an 
abundant condensation of psychic material has taken place 
in the formation of dreams. For we so often have the im- 
pression that we have dreamed a great deal throughout the 
night and then have forgotten the greater part. The dream 
which we recollect upon awakening would thus be only a 
remnant of the total dream-work, which would probably 
equal the dream thoughts in range if we were able to remember 
the former completely. In part this is certainly true ; there 
can be no mistake about the observation that the dream is 
most accurately reproduced if one tries to remember it im- 
mediately after awakening, and that the recollection of it 
becomes more and more defective towards evening. On the 
other hand, it must be admitted that the impression that we 
have dreamed a good deal more than we are able to reproduce 
is often based upon an illusion, the cause of which will be 
explained later. Moreover, the assumption of condensation 
in the dream activity is not affected by the possibility of 
forgetting in dreams, for it is proved by groups of ideas belong- 
ing to those particular parts of the dream which have remained 
in the memory. If a large part of the dream has actually 
been lost to memory, we are probably deprived of access to a 
new series of dream thoughts. It is altogether unjustifiable 
to expect that those portions of the dream which have been 
lost also relate to the thoughts with which we are already 
acquainted from the analysis of the portions which have been 
preserved. 

In view of the great number of ideas which analysis fur- 
nishes for each individual element of the dream content, the 
chief doubt with many readers will be whether it is permissible 
to count everything that subsequently comes to mind during 
analysis as a part of the dream thoughts — to assume, in other 
words, that all these thoughts have been active in the sleeping 
state and have taken part in the formation of the dream. 
Is it not more probable that thought connections are developed 
in the course of analysis which did not participate in the 
formation of the dream ? I can meet this doubt only con- 
ditionally. It is true, of course, that particular thought 



THE DREAM-WORK 263 

connections first arise only during analysis ; but one may 
always be sure that such new connections have been estab- 
lished only between thoughts which have already been con- 
nected in the dream thoughts by other means ; the new 
connections are, so to speak, corollaries, short circuits, which 
are made possible by the existence of other more fundamental 
means of connection. It must be admitted that the huge 
number of trains of thought revealed by analysis have already 
been active in the formation of the dream, for if a chain of 
thoughts has been worked out, which seems to be without 
connection with the formation of the dream, a thought is 
suddenly encountered which, being represented in the dream, 
is indispensable to its interpretation — which nevertheless is 
inaccessible except through that chain of thoughts. The reader 
may here turn to the dream of the botanical monograph, 
which is obviously the result of an astonishing condensation 
activity, even though I have not given the analysis of it 
completely. 

But how, then, is the psychic condition during sleep which 
precedes dreaming to be imagined ? Do all the dream thoughts 
exist side by side, or do they occur one after another, or 
are many simultaneous trains of thought constructed from 
different centres, which meet later on ? I am of the opinion 
that it is not yet necessary to form a plastic conception of 
the psychic condition of dream formation. Only let us not 
forget that we are concerned with unconscious thought, and 
that the process may easily be a different one from that which 
we perceive in ourselves in intentional contemplation accom- 
panied by consciousness. 

The fact, however, that dream formation is based on a 
process of condensation, stands indubitable. How, then, is 
this condensation brought about ? 

If it be considered that of those dream thoughts which are 
found only the smallest number are represented in the dream 
by means of one of its ideal elements, it might be concluded 
that condensation is accomplished by means of ellipsis, in 
that the dream is not an accurate translation or a projection 
point by point of the dream thoughts, but a very incomplete 
and defective reproduction of them. This view, as we shall 
soon find, is a very inadequate one. But let us take it as a 



264 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

starting point for the present, and ask ourselves : If only a 
few of the elements of the dream thoughts get into the dream 
content, what conditions determine their choice ? 

In order to gain enlightenment on this subject let us turn 
our attention to those elements of the dream content which 
must have fulfilled the conditions we are seeking. A dream 
to the formation of which an especially strong condensation 
has contributed will be the most suitable material for this 
investigation. I select the dream, cited on page 142, of the 
botanical monograph. 

Dream content : / have written a monograph upon a 
(obscure) certain plant. The book lies before me, I am just 
turning over a folded coloured plate. A dried specimen of the 
plant is bound with every copy as though from a herbarium. 

The most prominent element of this dream is the botanical 
monograph. This comes from the impressions received on 
the day of the dream ; I had actually seen a monograph on 
the genus " cyclamen " in the show-window of a book-store. 
The mention of this genus is lacking in the dream content, 
in which only the monograph and its relation to botany have 
remained. The " botanical monograph " immediately shows 
its relation to the work on cocaine which I had once written ; 
thought connections proceed from cocaine on the one hand 
to a " Festschrift," and on the other to my friend, the eye 
specialist, Dr. Koenigstein, who has had a share in the utili- 
sation of cocaine. Moreover, with the person of this Dr. 
Koenigstein is connected the recollection of the interrupted 
conversation which I had had with him on the previous 
evening and of the manifold thoughts about remuneration 
for medical services among colleagues. This conversation, 
then, is properly the actual stimulus of the dream ; the mono- 
graph about cyclamen is likewise an actuality but of an indif- 
ferent nature ; as I soon see, the " botanical monograph " of 
the dream turns out to be a common mean between the two 
experiences of the day, and to have been taken over unchanged 
from an indifferent impression and bound up with the psycho- 
logically significant experience by means of the most abundant 
associations. 

Not only the combined idea, " botanical monograph," 
however, but also each of the separate elements, " botanical " 



THE DREAM-WORK 265 

and " monograph," penetrates deeper and deeper into the 
confused tangle of the dream thoughts. To " botanical " 
belong the recollections of the person of Professor Gartner 
(German : Gärtner = gardener), of his blooming wife, of my 
patient whose name is Flora, and of a lady about whom I told 
the story of the forgotten flowers. Gartner, again, is connected 
with the laboratory and the conversation with Koenig stein ; 
the mention of the two female patients also belongs to the 
same conversation. A chain of thoughts, one end of which 
is formed by the title of the hastily seen monograph, leads 
off in the other direction from the lady with the flowers to the 
favourite flowers of my wife. Besides this, " botanical " 
recalls not only an episode at the Gymnasium, but an examina- 
tion taken while I was at the university ; and a new subject 
matter — my hobbies — which was broached in the conversa- 
tion already mentioned, is connected by means of my 
humorously so-called favourite flower, the artichoke, with the 
chain of thoughts proceeding from the forgotten flowers ; 
behind " artichoke " there is concealed on the one hand a 
recollection of Italy, and on the other a reminiscence of a 
childhood scene in which I first formed my connection with 
books which has since grown so intimate. " Botanical," 
then, is a veritable nucleus, the centre for the dream of many 
trains of thought, which, I may assure the reader, were 
correctly and justly brought into relation to one another in 
the conversation referred to. Here we find ourselves in a 
thought factory, in which, as in the " Weaver's Masterpiece " : 

" One tread moves thousands of threads, 
The little shuttles fly back and forth, 
The threads flow on unseen, 
One stroke ties thousands of knots." 

" Monograph " in the dream, again, has a bearing upon 
two subjects, the one-sidedness of my studies and the costli- 
ness of my hobbies. 

The impression is gained from this first investigation that 
the elements " botanical " and " monograph " have been 
accepted in the dream content because they were able to show 
the most extensive connections with the dream thoughts, 
and thus represent nuclei in which a great number of dream 
thoughts come together, and because they have manifold 



266 THE INTERPRETATION OP DREAMS 

significance for the dream interpretation. The fact upon 
which this explanation is based may be expressed in another 
form : Every element of the dream content turns out to be 
over-determined — that is, it enjoys a manifold representation 
in the dream thoughts. 

We shall learn more by testing the remaining component 
parts of the dream as to their occurrence in the dream thoughts. 
The coloured plate refers (cf. the analysis on p. 145) to a new 
subject, the criticism passed upon my work by colleagues, 
and to a subject already represented in the dream — my 
hobbies — and also to a childish recollection in which I pull to 
pieces the book with the coloured plates ; the dried specimen 
of the plant relates to an experience at the Gymnasium 
centering about and particularly emphasizing the herbarium. 
Thus I see what sort of relation exists between the dream 
content and dream thoughts : Not only do the elements of 
the dream have a manifold determination in the dream 
thoughts, but the individual dream thoughts are represented 
in the dream by many elements. Starting from an element of 
the dream the path of associations leads to a number of dream 
thoughts ; and from a dream thought to several elements of 
the dream. The formation of the dream does not, therefore, 
take place in such fashion that a single one of the dream 
thoughts or a group of them furnishes the dream content 
with an abridgment as its representative therein, and that 
then another dream thought furnishes another abridgment 
as its representative — somewhat as popular representatives 
are elected from among the people — but the whole mass of the 
dream thoughts is subjected to a certain elaboration, in the 
course of which those elements that receive the greatest and 
completest support stand out in relief, analogous, perhaps, to 
election by scrutins des listes. Whatever dream I may subject 
to such dismemberment, I always find the same fundamental 
principle confirmed — that the dream elements are constructed 
from the entire mass of the dream thoughts and that every one 
of them appears in relation to the dream thoughts to have a 
multiple determination. 

It is certainly not out of place to demonstrate this relation 
of the dream content to the dream thoughts by means of a 
fresh example, which is distinguished by a particularly artful 



THE DREAM-WOUK 26? 

intertwining of reciprocal relations. The dream is that of a 
patient whom I am treating for claustrophobia (fear in enclosed 
spaces). It will soon become evident why I feel myself called 
upon to entitle this exceptionally intellectual piece of dream 
activity in the following manner : 

II. " A Beautiful Dream " 

The dreamer is riding with much company to X-street, where 
there is a modest road-house (which is not the fact). A 
theatrical performance is being given in its rooms. He is first 
audience, then actor. Finally the company is told to change 
their clothes, in order to get back into the city. Some of the 
people are assigned to the rooms on the ground floor, others to 
the first floor. Then a dispute arises. Those above are angry 
because those below have not yet finished, so that they cannot 
come down. His brother is upstairs, he is below, and he is angry 
at his brother because there is such crowding. (This part 
obscure.) Besides it has already been decided upon their arrival 
who is to be upstairs and who down. Then he goes alone over 
the rising ground, across which X-street leads toward the city, 
and he has such difficulty and hardship in walking that he cannot 
move from the spot. An elderly gentleman joins him and scolds 
about the King of Italy. Finally, towards the end of the rising 
ground walking becomes much easier. 

The difficulties experienced in walking were so distinct 
that for some time after waking he was in doubt whether 
they were dream or reality. 

According to the manifest content, this dream can hardly 
be praised. Contrary to the rules, I shall begin with that 
portion which the dreamer referred to as the most distinct. 

The difficulties which were dreamed of, and which were 
probably experienced during the dream — difficult climbing 
accompanied by dyspnoea — is one of the symptoms which 
the patient had actually shown years before, and which, in 
conjunction with other symptoms, was at that time attributed 
to tuberculosis (probably hysterically simulated). We are 
already from exhibition dreams acquainted with this sensation 
of being hindered, peculiar to the dream, and here again we 
find it used for the purpose of any kind of representation, as 
an ever-ready material. That part of the dream content 



268 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

which ascribes the climbing as difficult at first, and as becoming 
easier at the end of the hill, made me think while it was being 
told of the well-known masterful introduction to Sappho 
by A. Daudet. Here a young man carries the girl whom 
he loves upstairs — she is at first as light as a feather ; but the 
higher he mounts the more heavily she weighs upon his arm, 
and this scene symbolises a course of events by recounting 
which Daudet tries to warn young men not to waste serious 
affection upon girls of humble origin or of questionable past.* 
Although I knew that my patient had recently had a love 
affair with a lady of the theatre, and had broken it off, I did 
not expect to find that the interpretation which had occurred 
to me was correct. Moreover, the situation in Sappho was the 
reverse of that in the dream ; in the latter the climbing was 
difficult at the beginning and easy later on ; in the novel the 
symbolism serves only if what was at first regarded as easy 
finally turns out to be a heavy load. To my astonishment, 
the patient remarked that the interpretation corresponded 
closely to the plot of a play which he had seen on the evening 
before at the theatre. The play was called Round about 
Vienna, and treated of the career of a girl who is respectable 
at first but later goes over to the demi-monde, who has affairs 
with persons in high places, thus " climbing," but finally 
" goes down " faster and faster. This play had reminded him 
of another entitled From Step to Step, in the advertisement 
of which had appeared a stairway consisting of several 
steps. 

Now to continue the interpretation. The actress with 
whom he had had his most recent affair, a complicated one, 
had lived in X-street. There is no inn in this street. How- 
ever, while he was spending a part of the summer in Vienna 
for the sake of the lady, he had lodged (German abgestiegen= 
stopped, literally stepped off) at a little hotel in the neighbour- 
hood. As he was leaving the hotel he said to the cab-driver, 
" I am glad I didn't get any vermin anyway (which incidentally 
is one of his phobias). Whereupon the cab-driver answered : 
" How could anybody stop there ! It isn't a hotel at all, 
it's really nothing but a road-house ! " 

* In estimating this description of the author one may recall the signi- 
ficance of stairway dreams, referred to on p. 246. 



THE DREAM-WORK 269 

The road-house immediately suggests to the dreamer's 
recollection a quotation : 

" Of that marvellous host 
I was once a guest." 

But the host in the poem by Uhland is an apple tree. Now 
a second quotation continues the train of thought : 

Faust {dancing with the young witch). 

" A lovely dream once came to me ; 
I then beheld an apple tree, 
And there two fairest apples shone : 
They lured me so, I climbed thereon." 

The Fair One. 

" Apples have been desired by you, 
Since first in Paradise they grew ; 
And I am moved with joy to know 
That such within my garden grow." 

Translated by Bayard Taylor. 

There remains not the slightest doubt what is meant by 
the apple tree and the apples. A beautiful bosom stood high 
among the charms with which the actress had bewitched our 
dreamer. 

According to the connections of the analysis we had every 
reason to assume that the dream went back to an impression 
from childhood. In this case it must have reference to the 
nurse of the patient, who is now a man of nearly fifty years 
of age. The bosom of the nurse is in reality a road-house for 
the child. The nurse as well as Daudet's Sappho appears as 
an allusion to his abandoned sweetheart. 

The (elder) brother of the patient also appears in the 
dream content ; he is upstairs, the dreamer himself is below. 
This again is an inversion, for the brother, as I happen to know, 
has lost his social position, my patient has retained his. In 
reporting the dream content the dreamer avoided saying 
that his brother was upstairs and that he himself was down. 
It would have been too frank an expression, for a person is 
said to be " down and out " when he has lost his fortune and 
position. Now the fact that at this point in the dream some- 
thing is represented as inverted must have a meaning. The 
inversion must apply rather to some other relation between 



270 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

the dream thoughts and dream content. There is an in- 
dication which suggests how this inversion is to be taken. 
It obviously applies to the end of the dream, where the circum- 
stances of climbing are the reverse of those in Sappho. Now it 
may easily be seen what inversion is referred to ; in Sappho 
the man carries the woman who stands in a sexual relation 
to him ; in the dream thoughts, inversely, a woman carries 
a man, and as this state of affairs can only occur during 
childhood, the reference is again to the nurse who carries 
the heavy child. Thus the final portion of the dream 
succeeds in representing Sappho and the nurse in the same 
allusion. 

Just as the name Sappho has not been selected by the 
poet without reference to a Lesbian custom, so the elements 
of the dream in which persons act above and below, point to 
fancies of a sexual nature with which the dreamer is occupied 
and which as suppressed cravings are not without connection 
with his neurosis. Dream interpretation itself does not show 
that these are fancies and not recollections of actual happen- 
ings ; it only furnishes us with a set of thoughts and leaves 
us to determine their value as realities. Real and fantastic 
occurrences at first appear here as of equal value — and not 
only here but also in the creation of more important psychic 
structures than dreams. Much company, as we already 
know, signifies a secret. The brother is none other than a 
representative, drawn into the childhood scene by " fancying 
backwards," of all of the later rivals for the woman. Through 
the agency of an experience which is indifferent in itself, the 
episode with the gentleman who scolds about the King of 
Italy again refers to the intrusion of people of low rank into 
aristocratic society. It is as though the warning which 
Daudet gives to youth is to be supplemented by a similar 
warning applicable to the suckling child.* 

In order that we may have at our disposal a third example 
for the study of condensation in dream formation, I shall cite 

* The fantastic nature of the situation relating to the nurse of the 
dreamer is shown by the objectively ascertained circumstance that the nurse 
in this case was liis mother. Furthermore, I may call attention to the 
regret of the young man in the anecdote (p. 172), that he had not taken 
better advantage of his opportunity with the nurse as probably the source 
of the present dream. 



THE DREAM-WORK 271 

the partial analysis of another dream for which I am in- 
debted to an elderly lady who is being psychoanalytically 
treated. In harmony with the condition of severe anxiety 
from which the patient suffered, her dreams contained a great 
abundance of sexual thought material, the discovery of which 
astonished as well as frightened her. Since I cannot carry 
the interpretation of the dream to completion, the material 
seems to fall apart into several groups without apparent 
connection. 

III. Content of the dream : She remembers that she has 
two June bugs in a box, which she must set at liberty, for otherwise 
they will suffocate. She opens the box, and the bugs are quite 
exhausted ; one of them flies out of the window, but the other is 
crushed on the casement while she is shutting the window, as some 
one or other requests her to do (expressions of disgust). 

Analysis : Her husband is away travelling, and her 
fourteen-year-old daughter is sleeping in the bed next to her. 
In the evening the little one calls her attention to the fact 
that a moth has fallen into her glass of water ; but she neglects 
to take it out, and feels sorry for the poor little creature in 
the morning. A story which she had read in the evening told 
of boys throwing a cat into boiling water, and the twitchings 
of the animal were described. These are the occasions for 
the dream, both of which are indifferent in themselves. She 
is further occupied with the subject of cruelty to animals. 
Years before, while they were spending the summer at a 
certain place, her daughter was very cruel to animals. She 
started a butterfly collection, and asked her for arsenic with 
which to kill the butterflies. Once it happened that a moth 
flew about the room for a long time with a needle through its 
body ; on another occasion she found that some moths which 
had been kept for metamorphosis had died of starvation. 
The same child while still at a tender age was in the habit 
of pulling out the wings of beetles and butterflies ; now she 
would shrink in horror from these cruel actions, for she has 
grown very kind. 

Her mind is occupied with this contrast. It recalls another 
contrast, the one between appearance and disposition, as it is 
described in Adam Bede by George Eliot. There a beautiful 
but vain and quite stupid girl is placed side by side with an 



272 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

ugly but high-minded one. The aristocrat who seduces the 
little goose, is opposed to the working man who feels aristo- 
cratic, and behaves accordingly. It is impossible to tell 
character from people's looks. Who could tell from her looks 
that she is tormented by sensual desires ? 

In the same year in which the little girl started her butterfly 
collection, the region in which they were staying suffered 
much from a pest of June bugs. The children made havoc 
among the bugs, and crushed them cruelly. At that time she 
saw a person who tore the wings off the June bugs and ate 
them. She herself had been born in June and also married 
in June. Three days after the wedding she wrote a letter 
home, telling how happy she was. But she was by no means 
happy. 

During the evening before the dream she had rummaged 
among her old letters and had read various ones, comical and 
serious, to her family — an extremely ridiculous letter from a 
piano-teacher who had paid her attention when she was a 
girl, as well as one from an aristocratic admirer.* 

She blames herself because a bad book by de Maupassant 
had fallen into the hands of one of her daughters, f The arsenic 
which her little girl asks for recalls the arsenic pills which 
restored the power of youth to the Due de Mora in Nabob. 

" Set at liberty " recalls to her a passage from the Magic 

Flute : 

" I cannot compel you to love, 
But I will not give you your liberty." 

" June bugs " suggests the speech of Katie : J 

" I love you like a little beetle." 

Meanwhile the speech from Tannhauser : " For you are 
wrought with evil passion." 

She is living in fear and anxiety about her absent husband. 
The dread that something may happen to him on the journey 
is expressed in numerous fancies of the day. A little while 
before, during the analysis, she had come upon a complaint 

* This is the real inciter of the dream. 

t By way of supplement. Such books are poison to a young girl. She 
herself in youth had drawn much information from forbidden books. 

% A further train of thought leads to Penthesileia by the same author : 
cruelty towards her lover. 



THE DREAM-WORK 273 

about his " senility " in her unconscious thoughts. The wish 
thought which this dream conceals may perhaps best be 
conjectured if I say that several days before the dream she 
was suddenly astounded by a command which she directed 
to her husband in the midst of her work : "Go hang yourself." 
It was found that a few hours before she had read somewhere 
that a vigorous erection is induced when a person is hanged. 
It was for the erection which freed itself from repression in 
this terror-inspiring veiled form. " Go hang yourself " is as 
much as to say : " Get up an erection, at any cost." Dr. 
Jenkin's arsenic pills in Nabob belong in this connection ; for 
it was known to the patient that the strongest aphrodisiac, 
cantharides, is prepared by crushing bugs (so-called Spanish 
flies). The most important part of the dream content has a 
significance to this effect. 

Opening and shutting the window is the subject of a stand- 
ing quarrel with her husband. She herself likes to sleep with 
plenty of air, and her husband does not. Exhaustion is the 
chief ailment of which she complains these days. 

In all three of the dreams just cited I have emphasized by 
italics those phrases where one of the elements of the dream 
recurs in the dream thoughts in order to make the manifold 
references of the former obvious. Since, however, the 
analysis of none of these dreams has been carried to com- 
pletion, it will be well worth while to consider a dream with a 
fully detailed analysis, in order to demonstrate the manifold 
determination of its content. I select the dream of Irma's 
injection for this purpose. We shall see without effort in 
this example that the condensation work has used more than 
one means for the formation of the dream. 

The chief person in the content of the dream is my patient 
Irma, who is seen with the features which belong to her in 
waking life, and who therefore in the first instance represents 
herself. But her attitude as I examine her at the window is 
taken from the recollection of another person, of the lady for 
whom I should like to exchange my patient, as the dream 
thoughts show. In as far as Irma shows a diphtheritic mem- 
brane which recalls my anxiety about my eldest daughter, 
she comes to represent this child of mine, behind whom is 
concealed the person of the patient who died from intoxication 

s 



274 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

and who is brought into connection by the identity of her 
name. In the further course of the dream the significance of 
Irma's personality changes (without the alteration of her 
image as it is seen in the dream) ; she becomes one of the 
children whom we examine in the public dispensaries for 
children's diseases, where my friends show the difference of 
their mental capabilities. The transference was obviously 
brought about through the idea of my infant daughter. By 
means of her unwillingness to open her mouth the same Irma 
is changed into an allusion to another lady who was once 
examined by me, and besides that to my wife, in the same 
connection. Furthermore, in the morbid transformations 
which I discover in her throat I have gathered allusions to a 
great number of other persons. 

All these people whom I encounter as I follow the associa- 
tions suggested by " Irma," do not appear personally in the 
dream ; they are concealed behind the dream person " Irma," 
who is thus developed into a collective image, as might be 
expected, with contradictory features. Irma comes to re- 
present these other persons, who are discarded in the work 
of condensation, in that I cause to happen to her all the things 
which recall these persons detail for detail. 

I may also construct a collective person for the con- 
densation of the dream in another manner, by uniting the 
actual features of two or more persons in one dream image. 
It is in this manner that Dr. M. in my dream was constructed, 
he bears the name of Dr. M., and speaks and acts as Dr. M. 
does, but his bodily characteristics and his suffering belong to 
another person, my eldest brother ; a single feature, paleness, 
is doubly determined, owing to the fact that it is common to 
both persons. Dr. R. in my dream about my uncle is a similar 
composite person. But here the dream image is prepared in 
still another manner. I have not united features peculiar 
to the one with features of the other, and thereby abridged 
the remembered image of each by certain features, but I have 
adopted the method employed by Galton in producing family 
portraits, by which he projects both pictures upon one another, 
whereupon the common features stand out in stronger relief, 
while those which do not coincide neutralize one another and 
become obscure in the picture. In the dream of my uncle the 



THE DREAM-WORK 275 

blond beard stands out in relief, as an emphasized feature, from 
the physiognomy, which belongs to two persons, and which is 
therefore blurred ; furthermore the beard contains an allusion 
to my father and to myself, which is made possible by its 
reference to the fact of growing grey. 

The construction of collective and composite persons is 
one of the chief resources of the activity of dream condensa- 
tion. There will soon be an occasion for treating of this in 
another connection. 

The notion " dysentery " in the dream about the injection 
likewise has a manifold determination, on the one hand 
because of its paraphasic assonance with diphtheria, and on 
the other because of its reference to the patient, whom I have 
sent to the Orient, and whose hysteria has been wrongly 
recognised. 

The mention of " propyls " in the dream also proves to be 
an interesting case of condensation. Not " propyls " but 
" amyls " were contained in the dream thoughts. One might 
think that here a simple displacement had occurred in the 
dream formation. And this is the case, but the displacement 
serves the purposes of condensation, as is shown by the 
following supplementary analysis. If I dwell for a moment 
upon the word " propyls," its assonance to the word " pro- 
pylseum " suggests itself to me. But the propylseum is to be 
found not only in Athens but also in Munich. In the latter 
city I visited a friend the year before who was seriously ill, 
and the reference to him becomes unmistakable on account of 
trimethylamin, which follows closely upon propyls. 

I pass over the striking circumstance that here, as else- 
where in the analysis of dreams, associations of the most widely 
different values are employed for the establishment of thought 
connections as though they were equivalent, and I yield to the 
temptation to regard the process by which amyls in the dream 
thoughts are replaced by propyls, as though it were plastic 
in the dream content. 

On the one hand is the chain of ideas about my friend 
Otto, who does not understand me, who thinks I am in the 
wrong, and who gives me the cordial that smells like amyls ; 
on the other the chain of ideas — connected with the first by 
contrast — about my friend William, who understands me and 



276 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

who would always think I was in the right, and to whom I 
am indebted for so much valuable information about the 
chemistry of the sexual processes. 

Those characteristics of the associations centering about 
Otto which ought particularly to attract my attention are 
determined by the recent occasions which are responsible for 
the dream ; amyls belong to these elements so determined 
which are destined to get into the dream content. The group 
of associations " William " is distinctly vivified by the con- 
trast to Otto, and the elements in it which correspond to those 
already excited in the " Otto " associations are thrown into 
relief. In this whole dream I am continually referring to a 
person who excites my displeasure and to another person whom 
I can oppose to him or her at will, and I conjure up the friend 
as against the enemy, feature for feature. Thus amyls in the 
Otto-group suggests recollections in the other group belonging 
to chemistry ; trimethylamin, which receives support from 
several quarters, finds its way into the dream content. 
" Amyls," too, might have got into the dream content without 
undergoing change, but it yields to the influence of the 
" William " group of associations, owing to the fact that an 
element which is capable of furnishing a double determina- 
tion for amyls is sought out from the whole range of recollec- 
tions which the name " William " covers. The association 
" propyls " lies in the neighbourhood of amyls ; Munich with 
the propylseum comes to meet amyls from the series of associa- 
tions belonging to " William." Both groups are united in 
propyls — propylceum. As though by a compromise, this inter- 
mediary element gets into the dream content. Here a 
common mean which permits of a manifold determination has 
been created. It thus becomes perfectly obvious that manifold 
determination must facilitate penetration into the dream 
content. A displacement of attention from what is really 
intended to something lying near in the associations has 
thoughtlessly taken place, for the sake of this mean-formation. 

The study of the injection dream has now enabled us to 
get some insight into the process of condensation which takes 
place in the formation of dreams. The selection of those 
elements which occur in the dream content more than once, 
the formation of new unities (collective persons, composite 



THE DREAM-WORK 277 

images), and the construction of the common mean, these we 
have been able to recognise as details of the condensing 
process. The purpose which is served by condensation and 
the means by which it is brought about will be investigated 
when we come to study the psychic processes in the formation 
of dreams as a whole. Let us be content for the present 
with establishing dream condensation as an important relation 
between the dream thoughts and the dream content. 

The condensing activity of the dream becomes most tangible 
when it has selected words and names as its object. In general 
words are often treated as things by the dream, and thus 
undergo the same combinations, displacements, and sub- 
stitutions, and therefore also condensations, as ideas of things. 
The results of such dreams are comical and bizarre word 
formations. Upon one occasion when a colleague had sent 
me one of his essays, in which he had, in my judgment, over- 
estimated the value of a recent physiological discovery and 
had expressed himself in extravagant terms, I dreamed the 
following night a sentence which obviously referred to this 
treatise : " That is in true norekdal style." The solution of 
this word formation at first gave me difficulties, although it 
was unquestionably formed as a parody after the pattern of 
the superlatives " colossal," " pyramidal " ; but to tell where 
it came from was not easy. At last the monster fell apart 
into the two names Nora and Ekdal from two well-known 
plays by Ibsen. I had previously read a newspaper essay on 
Ibsen by the same author, whose latest work I was thus 
criticising in the dream. 

II.* One of my female patients dreams that a man with a 
light beard and a peculiar glittering eye is pointing to a sign board 
attached to a tree which reads : uclamparia — wet. 

Analysis. The man was rather authoritative looking, and 
his peculiar glittering eye at once recalled St. Paul's Cathedral, 
near Rome, where she saw in mosaics the Popes that have so 
far ruled. One of the early Popes had a golden eye (this was 
realty an optical illusion which the guides usually call attention 
to ) . Further associations showed that the general physiognomy 
corresponded to her own clergyman (Pope), and the shape of 
the light beard recalled her doctor (myself), while the stature of 
* Given by translator as author's example could not be translated. 



278 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

the man in the dream recalled her father. All these persons 
stand in the same relation to her ; they are all guiding and 
directing her course of life. On further questioning, the 
golden eye recalled gold — money — the rather expensive 
psychoanalytic treatment which gives her a great deal of 
concern. Gold, moreover, recalls the gold cure for alcoholism 
— Mr. D., whom she would have married if it had not been for 
his clinging to the disgusting alcohol habit — she does not 
object to a person taking an occasional drink ; she herself 
sometimes drinks beer and cordials — this again brings her back 
to her visit to St. Paul's without the walls and its surroundings. 
She remembers that in the neighbouring monastery of the 
Three Fountains she drank a liquor made of eucalyptus by 
the Trappist monks who inhabit this monastery. She then 
relates how the monks transformed this malarial and swampy 
region into a dry and healthful neighbourhood by planting 
there many eucalyptus trees. The word " uclamparia " 
then resolves itself into eucalyptus and malaria, and the word 
" wet " refers to the former swampy nature of the place. Wet 
also suggests dry. Dry is actually the name of the man 
whom she would have married except for his over-indulgence 
in alcohol. The peculiar name of Dry is of Germanic origin 
(drei = three) and hence alludes to the Abbey of the Three 
(drei) Fountains above mentioned. In talking about Mr. Dry's 
habit she used the strong words, " He could drink a fountain." 
Mr. Dry jocosely refers to his habit by saying, " You know I 
must drink because I am always dry " (referring to his name). 
The eucalyptus also refers to her neurosis, which was at first 
diagnosed as malaria. She went to Italy because her attacks 
of anxiety, which were accompanied by marked trembling 
and shivering, were thought to be of malarial origin. She 
bought some eucalyptus oil from the monks, and she maintains 
that it has done her much good. 

The condensation uclamparia — wet is therefore the point of 
junction for the dream as well as for the neurosis.* 

* The same analysis and synthesis of syllables — a veritable chemistry of 
.syllables — serves ns for many a jest in waking life. "What is the cheapest 
method of obtaining silver? You go to a field where silver-berries are 
growing and pick them ; then the berries are eliminated and the silver 
remains in a free state." The first person who read and criticised this book 
made the objection to me — which other readers will probably repeat—" that 



THE DREAM- WORK 279 

III. In a somewhat long and wild dream of my own, the 
chief point of which is apparently a sea voyage, it happens 
that the next landing is called Hearsing and the one farther on 
Fliess. The latter is the name of my friend living in B.,who 
has often been the objective point of my travels. But Hearsing 
is put together from the names of places in the local environ- 
ment of Vienna, which so often end in ing : Hietzing, Liesing, 
Moedling (Medelitz, " mese deliciae," my own name, " my 
joy") (joy = German Freude), and the English hearsay, 
which points to libel and establishes the relation to the in- 
different dream excitement of the day — a poem in the 
Fliegende Blaetter about a slanderous dwarf, " Saidhe 
Hashesaid." By connecting the final syllable " ing " with the 
name Fliess, " Vlissingen " is obtained, which is a real port on 
the sea-voyage which my brother passes when he comes to 
visit us from England. But the English for Vlissingen is 
Flushing, which signifies blushing and recalls erythrophobia 
(fear of blushing), which I treat, and also reminds me of a 
recent publication by Bechterew about this neurosis, which 
has given occasion for angry feelings in me. 

IV. Upon another occasion I had a dream which consisted 
of two parts. The first was the vividly remembered word 
" Autodidasker," the second was truthfully covered by a 
short and harmless fancy which had been developed a few 
days before, and which was to the effect that I must tell 
Professor N., when I saw him next : " The patient about 
whose condition I last consulted you is really suffering from 
a neurosis, just as you suspected." The coinage " Auto- 
didasker " must, then, not only satisfy the requirement that it 
should contain or represent a compressed meaning, but also 

the dreamer often appears too witty." That is true, as long as it applies 
to the dreamer ; it involves a condemnation only when its application is 
extended to the interpreter of the dream. In waking reality I can make 
very little claim to the predicate "witty" ; if my dreams appear witty, this 
is not the fault of my individuality, but of the peculiar psychological con- 
ditions under which the dream is fabricated, and is intimately connected 
with the theory of wit and the comical. The dream becomes witty because 
the shortest and most direct way to the expression of its thoughts is barred 
for it : the dream is under constraint. My readers may convince themselves 
that the dreams of my patients give the impression of being witty (attempt- 
ing to be witty), in the same degree and in a greater than my own. 
Nevertheless this reproach impelled me to compare the technique of wit 
with the dream activity, which I have done in a book published in 1905, 
on Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious. (Author.) 



280 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

that this meaning should have a valid connection with my 
purpose, which is repeated from waking life, of giving Pro- 
fessor N. his due credit. 

Now Autodidasker is easily separated into author (German 
Autor), autodidact, and Lasker, with whom is associated the 
name Lasalle. The first of these words leads to the occasion 
of the dream — which this time is significant. I had brought 
home to my wife several volumes by a well-known author, 
who is a friend of my brother's, and who, as I have learned, 
comes from the same town as I (J. J. David). One evening 
she spoke to me about the profound impression which the 
touching sadness of a story in one of David's novels, about a 
talented but degenerate person, had made upon her, and our 
conversation turned upon the indications of talent which we 
perceive in our own children. Under the influence of what she 
had just read, my wife expressed a concern relative to our 
children, and I comforted her with the remark that it is just 
such dangers that can be averted by education. During the 
night my train of thoughts proceeded further, took up the 
concern of my wife, and connected with it all sorts of other 
things. An opinion which the poet had expressed to my 
brother upon the subject of marriage showed my thoughts a 
by-path which might lead to a representation in the dream. 
This path led to Breslau, into which city a lady who was a 
very good friend of ours had married. I found in Breslau 
Lasker and Las alle as examples realising our concern about 
being ruined at the hands of a woman, examples which 
enabled me to represent both manifestations of this influence 
for the bad at once.* The " Cherchez la femme," in which 
these thoughts may be summed up, when taken in another 
sense, brings me to my brother, who is still unmarried and 
whose name is Alexander. Now I see that Alex, as we ab- 
breviate the name, sounds almost like inversion of Lasker 
and that this factor must have taken part in giving my 
thoughts their detour by way of Breslau. 

But this playing with names and syllables in which I am 
here engaged contains still another meaning. The wish that 

* Lasker died of progressive paralysis, that is of the consecpiences of an 
infection caught from a woman (lues) ; Lasalle, as is well known, was killed 
in a duel on account of a lady. 



THE DREAM-WORK 281 

my brother may have a happy family life is represented by it 
in the following manner. In the artistic romance UCEuvre, 
the writer, as is well known, has incidentally given an episodic 
account of himself and of his own family happiness, and he 
appears under the name of Sandoz. Probably he has taken 
the following course in the name transformation. Zola when 
inverted (as children like so much to do) gives Aloz. But that 
was still too undisguised for him ; therefore he replaced the 
syllable Al, which stands at the beginning of the name 
Alexander, by the third syllable of the same name, sand, and 
thus Sandoz came about. In a similar manner my autodi- 
dasher originated. 

My fancy, that I am telling Professor N. that the patient 
whom we had both seen is suffering from a neurosis, got into 
the dream in the following manner. Shortly before the close 
of my working year I received a patient in whose case my 
diagnosis failed me. A serious organic affliction — perhaps 
some changes in the spine — was to be assumed, but could not 
be proved. It would have been tempting to diagnose the 
trouble as a neurosis, and this would have put an end to all 
difficulties, had it not been for the fact that the sexual 
anamnesis, without which I am unwilling to admit a neurosis, 
was so energetically denied by the patient. In my embarrass- 
ment I called to my assistance the physician whom I respect 
most of all men (as others do also), and to whose authority I 
surrender most completely. He listened to my doubts, told 
me he thought them justified, and then said : " Keep on 
observing the man, it is probably a neurosis." Since I know 
that he does not share my opinions about the etiology of 
neuroses, I suppressed my disagreement, but I did not conceal 
my scepticism. A few days after I informed the patient that 
I did not know what to do with him, and advised him to go 
to some one else. Thereupon, to my great astonishment, he 
began to beg my pardon for having lied to me, saying that he 
had felt very much ashamed ; and now he revealed to me just 
that piece of sexual etiology which I had expected, and which 
I found necessary for assuming the existence of a neurosis. 
This was a relief to me, but at the same time a humiliation ; 
for I had to admit that my consultant, who was not dis- 
concerted by the absence of anamnesis, had made a correct 



282 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

observation. I made up my mind to tell him about it when I 
saw him again, and to say to him that he had been in the 
right and I in the wrong. 

This is just what I do in the dream. But what sort of a 
wish is supposed to be fulfilled if I acknowledge that I am in 
the wrong ? This is exactly my wish ; I wish to be in the 
wrong with my apprehensions — that is to say, I wish that my 
wife whose fears I have appropriated in the dream thoughts 
may remain in the wrong. The subject to which the matter 
of being in the right or in the wrong is related in the dream is 
not far distant from what is really interesting to the dream 
thoughts. It is the same pair of alternatives of either organic 
or functional impairment through a woman, more properly 
through the sexual life — either tabetic paralysis or a neurosis 
— with which the manner of Lasalle's ruin is more or less 
loosely connected. 

In this well-joined dream (which, however, is quite trans- 
parent with the help of careful analysis) Professor N. plays a 
part not merely on account of this analogy and of my wish to 
remain in the wrong, or on account of the associated references 
to Breslau and to the family of our friend who is married 
there — but also on account of the following little occurrence 
which was connected with our consultation. After he had 
attended to our medical task by giving the above mentioned 
suggestion, his interest was directed to personal matters. 
" How many children have you now ? " — " Six." — A gesture 
of respect and reflection. — " Girls, boys ? " — " Three of each. 
They are my pride and my treasure." — " Well, there is no 
difficulty about the girls, but the boys give trouble later on 
in their education." I replied that until now they had been 
very tractable ; this second diagnosis concerning the future 
of my boys of course pleased me as little as the one he had 
made earlier, namely, that my patient had only a neurosis. 
These two impressions, then, are bound together by contiguity, 
by being successively received, and if I incorporate the story 
of the neurosis into the dream, I substitute it for the conversa- 
tion upon education which shows itself to be even more closely 
connected with the dream thoughts owing to the fact that it 
has such an intimate bearing upon the subsequently expressed 
concerns of my wife. Thus even my fear that N. may turn out 



THE DREAM- WORK 283 

to be right in his remarks on the educational difficulties in the 
case of boys is admitted into the dream content, in that it is 
concealed behind the representation of my wish that I may be 
wrong in such apprehensions. The same fancy serves without 
change to represent both conflicting alternatives. 

The verbal compositions of the dream are very similar 
to those which are known to occur in paranoia, but which are 
also found in hysteria and in compulsive ideas. The linguistic 
habits of children, who at certain periods actually treat words 
as objects and invent new languages and artificial syntaxes, 
are in this case the common source for the dream as well as for 
psy choneuroses . 

When speeches occur in the dream, which are expressly 
distinguished from thoughts as such, it is an invariable rule 
that the dream speech has originated from a remembered 
speech in the dream material. Either the wording has been 
preserved in its integrity, or it has been slightly changed in 
the course of expression ; frequently the dream speech is 
pieced together from various recollections of speeches, while 
the wording has remained the same and the meaning has 
possibly been changed so as to have two or more significations. 
Not infrequently the dream speech serves merely as an allusion 
to an incident, at which the recollected speech occurred.* 

(6) The Work of Displacement 

Another sort of relation, which is no less significant, must 
have come to our notice while we were collecting examples 
of dream condensation. We have seen that those elements 
which obtrude themselves in the dream content as its essential 
components play a part in the dream thoughts which is by 
no means the same. As a correlative to this the converse of 
this thesis is also true. That which is clearly the essential 
thing in the dream thoughts need not be represented in the 
dream at all. The dream, as it were, is eccentric ; its contents 
are grouped about other elements than the dream thoughts 

* In the case of a young man who was suffering from obsessions, but 
whose intellectual functions were intact and highly developed, I recently 
found the only exception to this rule. The speeches which occurred in his 
dreams did not originate in speeches which he had heard or had made him- 
self, but corresponded to the undisfigured wording of his obsessive thoughts, 
which only came to his consciousness in a changed state while he was awake. 



284 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

as a central point. Thus, for example, in the dream about 
the botanical monograph the central point of the dream 
content is apparently the element " botanical " ; in the 
dream thoughts we are concerned with the complications and 
conflicts which result from services rendered among colleagues 
which put them under obligations to one another, subse- 
quently with the reproach that I am in the habit of sacrificing 
too much to my hobbies, and the element " botanical " would 
in no case find a place in this nucleus of the dream thoughts 
if it were not loosely connected with it by an antithesis, for 
botany was never among my favourite studies. In the Sappho 
dream of my patient the ascending and descending, being 
upstairs and down, is made the central point ; the dream, 
however, is concerned with the danger of sexual relations 
with persons of low degree, so that only one of the elements of 
the dream thoughts seems to have been taken over into the 
dream content, albeit with unseemly elaboration. Similarly 
in the dream about June bugs, whose subject is the relation 
of sexuality to cruelty, the factor of cruelty has indeed re- 
appeared but in a different connection and without the mention 
of the sexual, that is to say, it has been torn from its context 
and transformed into something strange. Again, in the 
dream about my uncle, the blond beard, which seems to be 
its central point, appears to have no rational connection with 
the wishes for greatness which we have recognised as the 
nucleus of the dream thoughts. It is only to be expected if 
such dreams give a displaced impression. In complete con- 
trast to these examples, the dream of Irma's injection shows 
that individual elements can claim the same place in the 
formation of dreams which they occupy in the dream thoughts. 
The recognition of these new and entirely variable relations 
between the dream thoughts and the dream content is at 
first likely to excite our astonishment. If we find in a psychic 
process of normal life that an idea has been culled from among 
a number of others, and has acquired particular vividness in 
our consciousness, we are in the habit of regarding this result 
as a proof that the victorious idea is endowed with a peculiarly 
high degree of psychic value — a certain degree of interest. 
We now discover that this value of the individual elements in 
the dream thoughts is not preserved in the formation of the 



THE DREAM-WORK 285 

dream, or does not come into consideration. For there is no 
doubt as to the elements of the dream thoughts which are of 
the highest value ; our judgment tells us immediately. In 
the formation of dreams those elements which are emphasized 
with intense interest may be treated as though they were in- 
ferior, and other elements are put in their place which certainly 
were inferior in the dream thoughts. We are at first given 
the impression that the psychic intensity * of the individual 
ideas does not come into consideration at all for the selection 
made by the dream, but only their greater or smaller multi- 
plicity of determination. Not what is important in the 
dream thoughts gets into the dream, but what is contained 
in them several times over, one might be inclined to think ; 
but our understanding of the formation of dreams is not much 
furthered by this assumption, for at the outset it will be im- 
possible to believe that the two factors of manifold deter- 
mination and of integral value do not tend in the same direc- 
tion in the influence they exert on the selection made by the 
dream. Those ideas in the dream thoughts which are most 
important are probably also those which recur most frequently, 
for the individual dream thoughts radiate from them as from 
central points. And still the dream may reject those elements 
which are especially emphasized and which receive manifold 
support, and may take up into its content elements which 
are endowed only with the latter property. 

This difficulty may be solved by considering another im- 
pression received in the investigation of the manifold deter- 
mination of the dream content. Perhaps many a reader has 
already passed his own judgment upon this investigation by 
saying that the manifold determination of the elements of the 
dream is not a significant discovery, because it is a self-evident 
one. In the analysis one starts from the dream elements, and 
registers all the notions which are connected with them ; it is 
no wonder, then, that these elements should occur with particu- 
lar frequency in the thought material which is obtained in this 
manner. I cannot acknowledge the validity of this objection, 
but shall say something myself which sounds like it. Among 

* Psychic intensity, value, and emphasis clue to the interest of an idea 
are, of course, to be kept distinct from sensational intensity, and from intensity 
of that 'which is conceived. 



286 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

the thoughts which analysis brings to light, many can be 
found which are far removed from the central idea of the 
dream, and which appear distinguished from the rest as artificial 
interpolations for a definite purpose. Their purpose may 
easily be discovered ; they are just the ones which establish 
a connection, often a forced and far-fetched one, between the 
dream content and the dream thoughts, and if these elements 
were to be weeded out, not only over-determination but also 
a sufficient determination by means of the dream thoughts 
would often be lacking for the dream content. We are thus 
led to the conclusion that manifold determination, which 
decides the selection made by the dream, is perhaps not always 
a primary factor in dream formation, but is often the secondary 
manifestation of a psychic power which is still unknown to us. 
But in spite of all this, manifold determination must never- 
theless control the entrance of individual elements into the 
dream, for it is possible to observe that it is established with 
considerable effort in cases where it does not result from the 
dream material without assistance. 

The assumption is not now far distant that a psychic force 
is expressed in dream activity which on the one hand strips 
elements of high psychic value of their intensity, and which 
on the other hand creates new values, by way of over-determina- 
tion, from elements of small value, these new values subse- 
quently getting into the dream content. If this is the method 
of procedure, there has taken place in the formation of the 
dream a transference and displacement of the psychic in- 
tensities of the individual elements, of which the textual 
difference between the dream and the thought content appears 
as a result. The process which we assume here is nothing 
less than the essential part of the dream activity ; it merits 
the designation of dream displacement. Dream displacement 
and dream condensation are the two craftsmen to whom we 
may chiefly attribute the moulding of the dream. 

I think we also have an easy task in recognising the psychic 
force which makes itself felt in the circumstances of dream 
displacement. The result of this displacement is that the 
dream content no longer resembles the core of the dream 
thoughts at all, and that the dream reproduces only a disfigured 
form of the dream-wish in the unconscious. But we are 



THE DREAM-WORK 287 

already acquainted with dream disfigurement ; we have 
traced it back to the censorship which one psychic instance in 
the psychic life exercises upon the other. Dream displace- 
ment is one of the chief means for achieving this disfigurement. 
Is fecit, cui profuit. We may assume that dream displacement 
is brought about by the influence of this censor, of the endo- 
psychic repulsion.* 

The manner in which the factors of displacement, condensa- 
tion, and over-determination play into one another in the 
formation of the dream, which is the ruling factor and which 
the subordinate one, all this will be reserved as the subject of 
later investigations. For the present we may state, as a 
second condition which the elements must satisfy in order to 
get into the dream, that they must be withdrawn from the censor 
of resistance. From now on we shall take account of dream 

* Since I consider this reference of dream disfigurement to the censor 
as the essence of my dream theory, I here insert the latter portion of a story 
" Traumen wie Wachen " from Phantasien eines Realisten, by Lynkeus, Vienna, 
(second edition, 1900), in which I find this chief feature of my theory 
reproduced : — 

" Concerning a man who possesses the remarkable quality of never dream- 
ing nonsense. . . ." 

" Your marvellous characteristic of dreaming as you wake is based upon 
your virtues, upon your goodness, your justice, and your love for truth ; it 
is the moral clearness of your nature which makes everything about you 
intelligible." 

" But if you think the matter over carefully," replied the other, " I 
almost believe that all people are created as I am, and that no human being 
ever dreams nonsense ! A dream which is so distinctly remembered that it 
can be reproduced, which is therefore no dream of delirium, ahvays has a 
meaning : why, it cannot be otherwise ! For that which is in contradiction 
with itself can never be grouped together as a whole. The fact that time 
and space are often thoroughly shaken up detracts nothing from the real 
meaning of the dream, because neither of them has had any significance 
whatever for its essential contents. We often do the same thing in waking 
life ; think of the fairy-tale, of many daring and profound phantastic crea- 
tions, about which only an ignorant person would say : ' That is nonsense ! 
For it is impossible.' " 

"If it were only always possible to interpret dreams correctly, as you 
have just done with mine ! " said the friend. 

"That is certainly not an easy task, but the dreamer himself ought 
always to succeed in doing it with a little concentration of attention. . . . 
You ask why it is generally impossible 1 Your dreams seem to conceal 
something secret, something unchaste of a peculiar and higher nature, a 
certain mystery in your nature which cannot easily be revealed by thought ; 
and it is for that reason that your dreaming seems so often to be without 
meaning, or even to be a contradiction. But in the profoundest sense this 
is by no means the case ; indeed it cannot be true at all, for it is always the 
same person, whether he is asleep or awake." 



288 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

displacement as an unquestionable fact in the interpretation 
of dreams. 

(c) Means of Representation in the Dream 

Besides the two factors of dream condensation and dream 
displacement which we have found to be active in the trans- 
formation of the latent dream material into the manifest 
content, we shall come in the course of this investigation 
upon two other conditions which exercise an unquestionable 
influence upon the selection of the material which gets into 
the dream. Even at the risk of seeming to stop our progress, 
I should like to glance at the processes by which the inter- 
pretation of dreams is accomplished. I do not deny that I 
should succeed best in making them clear, and in showing 
that they are sufficiently reliable to insure them against 
attack, by taking a single dream as a paradigm and develop- 
ing its interpretation, as I have done in Chapter II. in the 
dream of " Irma's Injection," and then putting together the 
dream thoughts which I have discovered, and reconstructing 
the formation of the dream from them — that is to say, by 
supplementing the analysis of dreams by a synthesis of them. 
I have accomplished this with several specimens for my own 
instruction ; but I cannot undertake to do it here because I 
am prevented by considerations, which every right-minded 
person must approve of, relative to the psychic material 
necessary for such a demonstration. In the analysis of dreams 
these considerations present less difficulty, for an analysis 
may be incomplete and still retain its value even if it leads 
only a short way into the thought labyrinth of the dream. 
I do not see how a synthesis could be anything short of com- 
plete in order to be convincing. I could give a complete 
synthesis only of the dreams of such persons as are unknown 
to the reading public. Since, however, only neurotic patients 
furnish me with the means for doing this, this part of the 
description of the dream must be postponed until I can carry 
the psychological explanation of neuroses far enough — else- 
where — to be able to show their connection with the subject 
matter under consideration.* 

* 1 have since given the complete analysis and synthesis of two dreams in 
the Bruchstueck einer Hysterieanalyse, 1905. 



THE DREAM WORK 289 

From my attempts synthetically to construct dreams from 
the dream thoughts, I know that the material which is ob- 
tained from interpretation varies in value. For a part of it 
consists of the essential dream thoughts which would, therefore, 
completely replace the dream, and which would in themselves 
be sufficient for this replacement if there were no censor for 
the dream. The other part may be summed up under the 
term " collaterals " ; taken as a whole they represent the 
means by which the real wish that arises from the dream 
thoughts is transformed into the dream-wish. A first part 
of these " collaterals " consists of allusions to the actual 
dream thoughts, which, considered schematically, correspond 
to displacements from the essential to the non-essential. A 
second part comprises the thoughts which connect these non- 
essential elements, that have become significant through 
displacement with one another, and which reach from them 
into the dream content. Finally a third part contains the 
ideas and thought connections which (in the work of inter- 
pretation) conduct us from the dream content to the inter- 
mediary collaterals, all of which need not necessarily have 
participated in the formation of the dream. 

At this point we are interested exclusively in the essential 
dream thoughts. These are usually found to be a complex 
of thoughts and memories of the most intricate possible con- 
struction, and to possess all the properties of the thought 
processes which are known to us from waking life. Not 
infrequently they are trains of thought which proceed from 
more than one centre, but which do not lack points of con- 
nection ; almost regularly a chain of thought stands next to its 
contradictory correlative, being connected with it by contrast 
associations. 

The individual parts of this complicated structure naturally 
stand in the most manifold logical relations to one another. 
They constitute a foreground or background, digressions, 
illustrations, conditions, chains of argument, and objections. 
When the whole mass of these dream thoughts is subjected 
to the pressure of the dream activity, during which the parts 
are turned about, broken up, and pushed together, something 
like drifting ice, there arises the question, what becomes of 
the logical ties which until now had given form to the struc- 

T 



290 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

ture ? What representation do "if," " because," " as though," 
" although," " either — or," and all the other conjunctions, 
without which we cannot understand a phrase or a sentence, 
receive in the dream ? 

At first we must answer that the dream has at its disposal 
no means for representing these logical relations among the 
dream thoughts. In most cases it disregards all these con- 
junctions, and undertakes the elaboration only of the ob- 
jective content of the dream thoughts. It is left to the 
interpretation of the dream to restore the coherence which 
the activity of the dream has destroyed. 

If the dream lacks ability to express these relations, the 
psychic material of which the dream is wrought must be 
responsible. The descriptive arts are limited in the same 
manner — painting and the plastic arts in comparison with 
poetry, which can employ speech ; and here too the reason for 
this impotence is to be found in the material in the treatment 
of which the two arts strive to give expression to something. 
Before the art of painting had arrived at an understanding of 
the laws of expression by which it is bound, it attempted to 
escape this disadvantage. In old paintings little tags were 
hung from the mouths of the persons represented giving the 
speech, the expression of which in the picture the artist 
despaired of. 

Perhaps an objection will here be raised challenging the 
assertion that the dream dispenses with the representation 
of logical relations. There are dreams in which the most 
complicated intellectual operations take place, in which proof 
and refutation are offered, puns and comparisons made, just as 
in waking thoughts. But here, too, appearances are deceitful ; 
if the interpretation of such dreams is pursued, it is found that 
all of this is dream material, not the representation of intellectual 
activity in the dream. The content of the dream thoughts is 
reproduced by the apparent thinking of the dream, not the 
relations of the dream thoughts to one another, in the determina- 
tion of which relations thinking consists. I shall give examples 
of this. But the thesis which is most easily established is 
that all speeches which occur in the dream, and which are 
expressly designated as such, are unchanged or only slightly 
modified copies of speeches which are likewise to be found in 



THE DREAM-WORK 291 

the recollections of the dream material. Often the speech is 
only an allusion to an event contained in the dream thoughts ; 
the meaning of the dream is a quite different one. 

I shall not deny, indeed, that there is also critical thought 
activity which does not merely repeat material from the 
dream thoughts and which takes part in the formation of the 
dream. I shall have to explain the influence of this factor 
at the close of this discussion. It will then become clear that 
this thought activity is evoked not by the dream thoughts, 
but by the dream itself after it is already finished in a certain 
sense. 

We shall, therefore, consider it settled for the present that 
the logical relations among the dream thoughts do not enjoy 
any particular representation in the dream. For instance, 
where there is a contradiction in the dream, this is either a 
contradiction directed against the dream itself or a contra- 
diction derived from the content of one of the dream thoughts ; 
a contradiction in the dream corresponds to a contradiction 
among the dream thoughts only in a highly indirect manner. 

But just as the art of painting finally succeeded in de- 
picting in the represented persons, at least their intention in 
speaking — their tenderness, threatening attitude, warning mien, 
and the like — by other means than the dangling tag, so also 
the dream has found it possible to render account of a few of 
the logical relations among its dream thoughts by means of 
an appropriate modification of the peculiar method of dream 
representation. It will be found by experience that different 
dreams go to different lengths in taking this into consideration ; 
while one dream entirely disregards the logical coherence of 
its material, another attempts to indicate it as completely as 
possible. In so doing the dream departs more or less widely 
from the subject-matter which it is to elaborate. The dream 
also takes a similarly varying attitude towards the temporal 
coherence of the dream thoughts, if such coherence has been 
established in the unconscious (as for example in the dream of 
Irma's injection). 

But what are the means by which the dream activity is 
enabled to indicate these relations in the dream material 
which are so difficult to represent ? I shall attempt to 
enumerate these separately. 



292 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

In the first place, the dream renders account of the con- 
nection which is undeniably present between all the parts 
of the dream thoughts by uniting this material in a single 
composition as a situation or process. It reproduces logical 
connection in the form of simultaneousness ; in this case it acts 
something like the painter who groups together all the philo- 
sophers or poets into a picture of the school of Athens or of 
Parnassus, although these were never at once present in any 
hall or on any mountain top — though they do, however, form 
a unity from the point of view of reflective contemplation. 

The dream carries out this method of representation in 
detail. Whenever it shows two elements close together, it 
vouches for a particularly intimate connection between those 
elements which correspond to them in the dream thoughts. 
It is as in our method of writing : to signifies that the two 
letters are to be pronounced as one syllable, while t with o 
after a free space shows that t is the last letter of one word 
and o the first letter of another. According to this, dream 
combinations are not made of arbitrary, completely incon- 
gruent elements of the dream material, but of elements that 
also have a somewhat intimate relation to one another in the 
dream thoughts. 

For representing causal relation the dream has two methods, 
which are essentially reducible to one. The more frequent 
method, in cases, for example, where the dream thoughts are 
to the effect : " Because this was so and so, this and that 
must happen," consists in making the premise an introductory 
dream and joining the conclusion to it in the form of the main 
dream. If my interpretation is correct, the sequence may also 
be reversed. That part of the dream which is more completely 
worked out always corresponds to the conclusion. 

A female patient, whose dream I shall later give in full, 
once furnished me with a neat example of such a representa- 
tion of causal relationship. The dream consisted of a short 
prologue and of a very elaborate but well organised dream 
composition, which might be entitled : "A flower of speech." 
The prologue of the dream is as follows : She goes to the two 
maids in the kitchen and scolds them for taking so long to prepare 
" a little bite of food." She also sees a great many coarse dishes 
standing in the kitchen, inverted so that the water may drop off 



THE DREAM-WORK 293 

them, and heaped up in a pile. The two maids go to fetch water, 
and must, as it were, step into a river, ivhich reaches up to the 
house or into the yard. 

Then follows the main dream, which begins as follows : 
She is descending from a high place, over balustrades that are 
curiously fashioned, and she is glad that her dress doesn't get 
caught anywhere, &c. Now the introductory dream refers 
to the house of the lady's parents. Probably she has often 
heard from her mother the words which are spoken in the 
kitchen. The piles of unwashed dishes are taken from an 
unpretentious earthenware shop which was located in the 
same house. The second part of this dream contains an 
allusion to the dreamer's father, who always had a great deal 
to do with servant girls, and who later contracted a fatal 
disease during a flood — the house stood near the bank of a 
river. The thought which is concealed behind the intro- 
ductory dream, then, is to this effect : " Because I was born 
in this house, under such limited and unlovely circumstances." 
The main dream takes up the same thought, and presents it in 
a form that has been altered by the tendency to wish-fulfil- 
ment : "I am of exalted origin." Properly then : " Because 
I was born in such low circumstances, my career has been so 
and so." 

As far as I can see, the partition of a dream into two unequal 
portions does not always signify a causal relation between 
the thoughts of the two portions. It often appears as though 
the same material were being presented in the two dreams 
from different points of view ; or as though the two dreams 
have proceeded from two separated centres in the dream 
material and their contents overlap, so that the object which 
is the centre of one dream has served in the other as an 
allusion, and vice versa. But in a certain number of cases a 
division into shorter fore-dreams and longer subsequent 
dreams actually signifies a causal relation between the two 
portions. The other method of representing causal relation 
is used with less abundant material and consists in the change 
of one image in the dream, whether a person or a thing, into 
another. It is only in cases where we witness this change 
taking place in the dream that any causal relation is asserted 
to exist, not where we merely notice that one thing has taken 



294 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

the place of another. I said that both methods of repre- 
senting causal relation are reducible to the same thing ; in 
both cases causation is represented by a succession, now by 
the sequence of the dreams, now by the immediate transforma- 
tion of one image into another. In the great majority of 
cases, of course, causal relation is not expressed at all, but is 
obliterated by the sequence of elements which is unavoidable 
in the dream process. 

The dream is altogether unable to express the alternative, 
" either — or " ; it is in the habit of taking both members of 
this alternative into one context, as though they were equally 
privileged. A classic example of this is contained in the 
dream of Irma's injection. Its latent thoughts obviously 
mean : I am innocent of the continued presence of Irma's 
pains ; the fault rests either with her resistance to accepting 
the solution, or with the fact that she is living under un- 
favourable sexual conditions, which I am unable to change, or 
her pains are not of a hysteric nature at all, but organic. The 
dream, however, fulfils all these possibilities, which are almost 
exclusive, and is quite ready to extract from the dream- wish 
an additional fourth solution of this kind. After interpreting 
the dream I have therefore inserted the either — or in the 
sequence of the dream thoughts. 

In the case where the dreamer finds occasion in telling the 
dream to use either — or : "It was either a garden or a living- 
room," &c, it is not really an alternative which occurs in the 
dream thoughts, but an " and," a simple addition. When we 
use either — or we are usually describing a characteristic of 
indistinctness belonging to an element of the dream which is 
still capable of being cleared up. The rule of interpretation 
for this case is as follows : The separate members of the 
alternative are to be treated as equals and connected by 
" and." For instance, after waiting for a long time in vain 
for the address of my friend who is living in Italy, I dream 
that I receive a telegram which tells me this address. Upon 
the strip of telegraph paper I see printed in blue the following ; 
the first word is blurred : 

perhaps via, 

or villa, the second is distinctly : Sezerno or perhaps (Casa). 



THE DREAM-WORK 295 

The second word, which sounds like an Italian name and 
which reminds me of our etymological discussions, also ex- 
presses my displeasure on account of the fact that my friend 
has kept his place of residence secret from me for so long a 
time ; every member of the triple suggestion for the first word 
may be recognised in the course of analysis as a self-sufficient 
and equally well-justified starting point in the concatenation 
of ideas. 

During the night before the funeral of my father I dreamed 
of a printed placard, a card or poster — perhaps something 
like signs in railway waiting-rooms which announce the pro- 
hibition of smoking — which reads either : 

It is requested to shut the eyes 

or 
It is requested to shut an eye 

which I am in the habit of representing in the following form : 

the 
It is requested to shut eye (s). 

an 

Each of the two variations has its own particular meaning, 
and leads us along particular paths in the interpretation of the 
dream. I had made the simplest kind of funeral arrangements, 
for I knew how the deceased thought about such matters. 
Other members of the family, however, did not approve of 
such puritanic simplicity ; they thought we would have to 
be ashamed before the mourners. Hence one of the wordings 
of the dream requests the " shutting of one eye," that is to 
say, that people should show consideration. The significance 
of the blurring, which we describe with an either — or, may here 
be seen with particular ease. The dream activity has not 
succeeded in constructing a unified but at the same time 
ambiguous wording for the dream thoughts. Thus the two 
main trains of thought are already distinguished even in the 
dream content. 

In a few cases the division of the dream into two equal 
parts expresses the alternative which the dream finds it so 
difficult to represent. 

The attitude of the dream towards the category of anti- 
thesis and contradiction is most striking. This category is 



296 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

unceremoniously neglected; the word "No" does not seem 
to exist for the dream. Antitheses are with peculiar preference 
reduced to unity or represented as one. The dream also 
takes the liberty of representing any element whatever by its 
desired opposite, so that it is at first impossible to tell about 
any element capable of having an opposite, whether it is to be 
taken negatively or positively, in the dream thoughts.* In 
one of the last-mentioned dreams, whose introductory portion 
we have already interpreted (" because my parentage is such "), 
the dreamer descends over a balustrade and holds a blossom- 
ing twig in her hands. Since this picture suggests to her 
the angel in paintings of the Annunciation (her own name is 
Mary) carrying a lily stem in his hand, and the white-robed 
girls marching in the procession on Corpus Christi Day when 
the streets are decorated with green bows, the blossoming 
twig in the dream is very certainly an allusion to sexual 
innocence. But the twig is thickly studded with red blossoms, 
each one of which resembles a camelia. At the end of her 
walk, so the dream continues, the blossoms have already 
fallen considerably apart ; then unmistakable allusions to 
menstruation follow. But this very twig which is carried 
like a lily and as though by an innocent girl, is also an allusion 
to Camille, who, as is known, always wore a white camelia, 
but a red one at the time of her menstruation. The same 
blossoming twig (" the flower of maidenhood " in the songs 
about the miller's daughter by Goethe) represents at once 
sexual innocence and its opposite. The same dream, also, 
which expresses the dreamer's joy at having succeeded in 
passing through life unsullied, hints in several places (as at 
the falling-off of the blossom), at the opposite train of thought 
— namely, that she had been guilty of various sins against 
sexual purity (that is in her childhood). In the analysis of 

* From a work of K. Abel, Der Gegensinn der Urworte, 1884 (see my 
review of it in the Bleuler-Freud Jahrbuch, IL, 1910), I learned with surprise 
a fact which is confirmed by other philologists, that the oldest languages 
behaved in this regard quite like the dream. They originally had only one 
word for both extremes in a series of qualities or activities (strong — weak, 
old — young, far — near, to tie — to separate), and formed separate designa- 
tions for the two extremes only secondarily through slight modifications of 
the common primitive word. Abel demonstrated these relationships with 
rare exception« in the old Egyptian, and he was able to show distinct 
remnants of the same development in the Semitic and Indo-Germanic 
languages. 



THE DREAM- WORK 297 

the dream we may clearly distinguish the two trains of thought, 
of which the comforting one seems to be superficial, the re- 
proachful one more profound. The two are diametrically 
opposed to each other, and their like but contrasting elements 
have been represented by the identical dream elements. 

The mechanism of dream formation is favourable in the 
highest degree to only one of the logical relations. This 
relation is that of similarity, correspondence, contiguity, " as 
though," which is capable of being represented in the dream 
as no other can be, by the most varied expedients. The corre- 
spondences occurring in the dream, or cases of "as though," 
are the chief points of support for the formation of dreams, 
and no inconsiderable part of the dream activity consists in 
creating new correspondences of this sort in cases where those 
which are already at hand are prevented by the censor of 
resistance from getting into the dream. The effort towards 
condensation shown by the dream activity assists in the 
representation of the relation of similarity. 

Similarity, agreement, community, are quite generally ex- 
pressed in the dream by concentration into a unity, which is 
either already found in the dream material or is newly created. 
The first case may be referred to as identification, the second 
as composition. Identification is used where the dream is 
concerned with persons, composition where things are the 
objects of unification ; but compositions are also made from 
persons. Localities are often treated as persons. 

Identification consists in giving representation in the 
dream content to only one of a number of persons who are 
connected by some common feature, while the second or the 
other persons seem to be suppressed as far as the dream is 
concerned. This one representative person in the dream 
enters into all the relations and situations which belong to 
itself or to the persons who are covered by it. In cases of 
composition, however, when this has to do with persons, 
there are already present in the dream image features which 
are characteristic of, but not common to, the persons in 
question, so that a new unity, a composite person, appears as 
the result of the union of these features. The composition 
itself may be brought about in various ways. Either the 
dream person bears the name of one of the persons to whom 



298 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

it refers — and then we know, in a manner which is quite 
analogous to knowledge in waking life, that this or that person 
is the one who is meant — while the visual features belong to 
another person ; or the dream image itself is composed of 
visual features which in reality are shared by both. Instead 
of visual features, also, the part played by the second person 
may be represented by the mannerisms which are usually 
ascribed to him, the words which he usually speaks, or the 
situations in which he is usually imagined. In the latter 
method of characterisation the sharp distinction between 
identification and composition of persons begins to disappear. 
But it may also happen that the formation of such a mixed 
personality is unsuccessful. The situation of the dream is 
then attributed to one person, and the other — as a rule the 
more important one — is introduced as an inactive and uncon- 
cerned spectator. The dreamer relates something like " My 
mother was also there " (Stekel). 

The common feature which justifies the union of the two 
persons — that is to say, which is the occasion for it — may 
either be represented in the dream or be absent. As a rule, 
identification or composition of persons simply serves the 
purpose of dispensing with the representation of this common 
feature. Instead of repeating : " A is ill disposed towards 
me, and B is also," I make a composite person of A and B in 
the dream, or I conceive A as doing an unaccustomed action 
which usually characterises B. The dream person obtained 
in this way appears in the dream in some new connection, and 
the fact that it signifies both A and B justifies me in inserting 
that which is common to both — their hostility towards me — 
at the proper place in the interpretation of the dream. In 
this manner I often achieve a very extraordinary degree of 
condensation of the dream content ; I can save myself the 
direct representation of very complicated relations belonging 
to a person, if I can find a second person who has an equal 
claim to a part of these relations. It is also obvious to what 
extent this representation by means of identification can 
circumvent the resisting censor, which makes the dream 
activity conform to such harsh conditions. That which 
offends the censor may lie in those very ideas which are con- 
nected in the dream material with the one person ; I now find 



THE DREAM-WORK 299 

a second person, who likewise has relation to the objectionable 
material, but only to a part of it. The contact in that one 
point which offends the censor now justified me in forming 
a composite person, which is characterised on either hand by 
indifferent features. This person resulting from composition 
or identification, who is unobjectionable to the censor, is now 
suited for incorporation in the dream content, and by the 
application of dream condensation I have satisfied the demands 
of the dream censor. 

In dreams where a common feature of two persons is repre- 
sented, this is usually a hint to look for another concealed 
common feature, the representation of which is made im- 
possible by the censor. A displacement of the common 
feature has here taken place partly in order to facilitate repre- 
sentation. From the circumstance that the composite person 
appears to me with an indifferent common feature, I must 
infer that another common feature which is by no means 
indifferent exists in the dream thoughts. 

According to what has been said, identification or com- 
position of persons serves various purposes in the dream ; in 
the first place, to represent a feature common to the two 
persons ; secondly, to represent a displaced common feature ; 
and thirdly, even to give expression to a community of features 
that is merely wished for. As the wish for a community 
between two persons frequently coincides with the exchanging 
of these persons, this relation in the dream is also expressed 
through identification. In the dream of Irma's injection I 
wish to exchange this patient for another — that is to say, I 
wish the latter to be my patient as the former has been ; the 
dream takes account of this wish by showing me a person who 
is called Irma, but who is examined in a position such as I 
have had the opportunity of seeing only when occupied with 
the other person in question. In the dream about my uncle 
this substitution is made the centre of the dream ; I identify 
myself with the minister by judging and treating my colleague 
as shabbily as he does. 

It has been my experience — and to this I have found no 
exception — that every dream treats of one's own person. 
Dreams are absolutely egotistic. In cases where not my ego, 
but only a strange person occurs in the dream content, I may 



300 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

safely assume that iny ego is concealed behind that person by 
means of identification. I am permitted to supplement my 
ego. On other occasions when my ego appears in the dream, 
I am given to understand by the situation in which it is placed 
that another person is concealing himself behind the ego. 
In this case the dream is intended to give me notice that in the 
interpretation I must transfer something which is connected 
with this person — the hidden common feature — to myself. 
There are also dreams in which my ego occurs along with other 
persons which the resolution of the identification again shows 
to be my ego. By means of this identification I am instructed 
to unite in my ego certain ideas to whose acceptance the censor 
has objected. I may also give my ego manifold representation 
in the dream, now directly, now by means of identification 
with strangers. An extraordinary amount of thought material 
may be condensed by means of a few such identifications.* 

The resolution of the identification of localities designated 
under their own names is even less difficult than that of 
persons, because here the disturbing influence of the ego, 
which is all-powerful in the dream, is lacking. In one of my 
dreams about Rome (p. 164) the name of the place in which 
I find myself is Rome ; I am surprised, however, at the great 
number of German placards at a street corner. The latter 
is a wish-fulfilment, which immediately suggests Prague ; the 
wish itself probably originated at a period in my youth when I 
was imbued with a German nationalistic spirit which is sup- 
pressed to-day. At the time of my dream I was looking 
forward to meeting a friend in Prague ; the identification of 
Rome and Prague is thus to be explained by means of a desired 
common feature ; I would rather meet my friend in Rome 
than in Prague, I should like to exchange Prague for Rome for 
the purpose of this meeting. 

The possibility of creating compositions is one of the chief 

causes of the phantastic character so common in dreams, in 

that it introduces into the dream elements which could never 

have been the objects of perception. The psychic process 

which occurs in the formation of compositions is obviously 

* If I do not know behind which of the persons which occur in the 
dream I am to look for my ego, 1 observe the following rule : That person in 
the dream who is subject to an emotion which I experience while asleep, 
is the one that conceals my ego. 



THE DREAM-WORK 301 

the same which we employ in conceiving or fashioning a centaur 
or a dragon in waking life. The only difference is that in the 
phantastic creations occurring in waking life the intended 
impression to be made by the new creation is itself the 
deciding factor, while the composition of the dream is deter- 
mined by an influence — the common feature in the dream 
thoughts — which is independent of the form of the image. 
The composition of the dream may be accomplished in a great 
many different ways. In the most artless method of execu- 
tion the properties of the one thing are represented, and this 
representation is accompanied by the knowledge that they 
also belong to another object. A more careful technique 
unites the features of one object with those of the other in 
a new image, while it makes skilful use of resemblance 
between the two objects which exist in reality. The new 
creation may turn out altogether absurd or only phantasti- 
cally ingenious, according to the subject-matter and the wit 
operative in the work of composition. If the objects to be 
condensed into a unity are too incongruous, the dream activity 
is content with creating a composition with a comparatively 
distinct nucleus, to which are attached less distinct modifica- 
tions. The unification into one image has here been unsuccess- 
ful, as it were ; the two representations overlap and give rise to 
something like a contest between visual images. If attempt 
were made to construct an idea out of individual images of 
perception, similar representations might be obtained in a 
drawing. 

Dreams naturally abound in such compositions ; several 
examples of these I have given in the dreams already analysed ; 
I shall add more. In the dream on p. 296, which describes 
the career of my patient " in flowery language," the dream 
ego carries a blossoming twig in her hand, which, as we have 
seen, signifies at once innocence and sexual transgression. 
Moreover, the twig recalls cherry-blossoms on account of 
the manner in which the blossoms are clustered ; the blossoms 
themselves, separately considered, are camelias, and finally the 
whole thing also gives the impression of an exotic plant. The 
common feature in the elements of this composition is shown 
by the dream thoughts. The blossoming twig is made up of 
allusions to presents by which she was induced or should have 



302 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

been induced to show herself agreeable. So it was with the 
cherries in her childhood and with the stem of camelias in 
her later years ; the exotic feature is an illusion to a much- 
travelled naturalist, who sought to win her favour by means 
of a drawing of a flower. Another female patient creates a 
middle element out of bath-houses at a bathing resort, rural 
outside water-closets, and the garrets of our city dwellings. 
The reference to human nakedness and exposure is common 
to the two first elements ; and we may infer from their con- 
nection with the third element that (in her childhood) the 
garret was likewise the scene of exposure. A dreamer of the 
male sex makes a composite locality out of two places in 
which " treatment " is given — my office and the public hall 
in which he first became acquainted with his wife. Another 
female patient, after her elder brother has promised to regale 
her with caviare, dreams that his legs are covered thick with 
black caviare pearls. The two elements, " contagion " in 
a moral sense and the recollection of a cutaneous eruption 
in childhood which made her legs look as though studded 
over with red dots instead of black ones, have here been united 
with the caviare pearls to form a new idea — the idea of " what 
she has inherited from her brother." In this dream parts of 
the human body are treated as objects, as is usually the case 
in dreams. In one of the dreams reported by Ferenczi 87 
there occurred a composition made up of the person of a 
physician and a horse, over which was spread a nightshirt. 
The common feature in these three components was shown 
in the analysis after the nightshirt had been recognised as an 
allusion to the father of the dreamer in an infantile scene. 
In each of the three cases there was some object of her sexual 
inquisitiveness. As a child she had often been taken by her 
nurse to the military breeding station, where she had the 
amplest opportunity to satisfy her curiosity, which was at that 
time uninhibited. 

I have already asserted that the dream has no means for 
expressing the relation of contradiction, of contrast, of nega- 
tion. I am about to contradict this assertion for the first 
time. A part of the cases, which may be summed up under the 
word " contrast," finds representation, as we have seen, simply 
by means of identification — that is, when an interchange or 



THE DREAM-WORK 303 

replacement can be connected with the contrast. We have 
given repeated examples of this. Another part of the con- 
trasts in the dream thoughts, which perhaps falls into the 
category " turned into the opposite," is represented in the dream 
in the following remarkable manner, which may almost be 
designated as witty. The " inversion " does not itself get 
into the dream content, but manifests its presence there by 
means of the fact that a part of the already formed dream 
content which lies at hand for other reasons, is — as it were 
subsequently — inverted. It is easier to illustrate this process 
than to describe it. In the beautiful " Up and Down " 
dream (p. 267) the representation of ascending is an inversion 
of a prototype in the dream thoughts, that is to say, of the 
introductory scene of Daudet's Sappho ; in the dream climb- 
ing is difficult at first, and easy later on, while in the actual 
scene it is easy at first, and later becomes more and more 
difficult. Likewise " above " and " below " in relation to 
the dreamer's brother are inverted in the dream. This points 
to a relation of contraries or contrasts as obtaining between 
two parts of the subject-matter of the dream thoughts and 
the relation we have found in the fact that in the childish 
fancy of the dreamer he is carried by his nurse, while in the 
novel, on the contrary, the hero carries his beloved. My 
dream about Goethe's attack upon Mr. M. (p. 345) also contains 
an " inversion " of this sort, which must first be set right 
before the interpretation of the dream can be accomplished. 
In the dream Goethe attacks a young man, Mr. M. ; in reality, 
according to the dream thoughts, an eminent man, my friend, 
has been attacked by an unknown young author. In the 
dream I reckon time from the date of Goethe's death ; in 
reality the reckoning was made from the year in which the 
paralytic was born. The thought determining the dream 
material is shown to be an objection to the treatment of Goethe 
as a lunatic. " The other way around," says the dream ; "if 
you cannot understand the book, it is you who are dull-witted, 
not the author." Furthermore, all these dreams of inversion 
seem to contain a reference to the contemptuous phrase, 
" to turn one's back upon a person " (German : " einen die 
Kehrseite zeigen " ; cf. the inversion in respect to the dreamer's 
brother in the Sappho dream). It is also remarkable how 



304 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

frequently inversion becomes necessary in dreams which are 
inspired by repressed homosexual feelings. 

Moreover, inversion or transformation into an opposite 
is one of the favourite methods of representation, and one of 
the methods most capable of varied application which the 
dream activity possesses. Its first function is to create the 
fulfilment of a wish with reference to a definite element of 
the dream-thoughts. " If it were only just the other way ! " 
is often the best expression of the relation of the ego to a dis- 
agreeable recollection. But inversion becomes extraordinarily 
useful for the purposes of the censor, for it brings about 
in the material represented a degree of disfiguration which all 
but paralyses our understanding of the dream. For this 
reason it is always permissible, in cases where the dream 
stubbornly refuses to yield its meaning, to try the inversion 
of definite portions of its manifest content, whereupon not 
infrequently everything becomes clear. 

Besides this inversion, the subject-matter inversion in 
temporal relation is not to be overlooked. A frequent device 
of dream disfigurement consists in presenting the final issue 
of an occurrence or the conclusion of an argument at the 
beginning of the dream, or in supplying the premises of a 
conclusion or the causes of an effect at the end of it. Any- 
one who has not considered this technical method of dream 
disfigurement stands helpless before the problem of dream 
interpretation. * 

Indeed in some cases we can obtain the sense of the dream 
only by subjecting the dream content to manifold inversion 
in different directions. For example, in the dream of a young 
patient suffering from a compulsion neurosis, the memory of an 
infantile death-wish against a dreaded father was hidden behind 

* The hysterical attack sometimes uses the same device — the inversion of 
time-relations — for the purpose of concealing its meaning from the spectator. 
The attack of a hysterical girl, for example, consists in enacting a little 
romance, which she has unconsciously fancied in connection with an en- 
counter in the street car. A man, attracted by the beauty of her foot, addresses 
her while she is reading, whereupon she goes with him and experiences a 
stormy love scene. Her attack begins with the representation of this scene 
in writhing movements of the body (accompanied by motions of the lijjs to 
signify kissing, entwining of the arms for embraces), whereupon she hurries 
into another room, sits down in a chair, lifts her skirt in order to show her 
foot, acts as though she were about to read a book, and speaks to me 
(answers me). 



THE DREAM-WORK 305 

the following words : His father upbraids him because he arrives 
so late. But the context in the psychoanalytic treatment 
and. the thoughts of the dreamer alike go to show that the 
sentence must read as follows : He is angry at his father, 
and, further, that his father is always coming home too early 
(i.e. too soon). He would have preferred that his father should 
not come home at all, which is identical with the wish (see page 
219) that his father should die. As a little boy the dreamer 
was guilty of sexual aggression against another person while 
his father was away, and he was threatened with punishment 
in the words : " Just wait until father comes home." 

If we attempt to trace the relations between dream content 
and dream thoughts further, we shall do this best by making 
the dream itself our starting-point and by asking ourselves 
the question : What do certain formal characteristics of dream 
representation signify with reference to the dream thoughts % 
The formal characteristics which must attract our attention 
in the dream primarily include variations in the distinctness 
of individual parts of the dream or of whole dreams in relation 
to one another. The variations in the intensity of individual 
dream images include a whole scale of degrees ranging from 
a distinctness of depiction which one is inclined to rate as 
higher — without warrant, to be sure — than that of reality, to 
a provoking indistinctness which is declared to be character- 
istic of the dream, because it cannot altogether be compared 
to any degree of indistinctness which we ever see in real objects. 
Moreover, we usually designate the impression which we 
get from an indistinct object in the dream as " fleeting," 
while we think of the more distinct dream images as remain- 
ing intact for a longer period of perception. We must now 
ask ourselves by what conditions in the dream material these 
differences in the vividness of the different parts of the dream 
content are brought about. 

There are certain expectations which will inevitably arise 
at this point and which must be met. Owing to the fact that 
real sensations during sleep may form part of the material 
of the dream, it will probably be assumed that these sensations 
or the dream elements resulting from them are emphasized 
by peculiar intensity, or conversely, that what turns out to be 

u 



306 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

particularly vivid in the dream is probably traceable to such 
real sensations during sleep. My experience has never con- 
firmed this. It is incorrect to say that those elements of the 
dream which are the derivatives of impressions occurring in 
sleep (nervous excitements) are distinguished by their vivid- 
ness from others which are based on recollections. The factor 
of reality is of no account in determining the intensity of 
dream images. 

Furthermore, the expectation will be cherished that the 
sensory intensity (vividness) of individual dream images has 
a relation to the psychic intensity of the elements correspond- 
ing to them in the dream-thoughts. In the latter intensity 
is identical with psychic value ; the most intense elements 
are in fact the most significant, and these are the central 
point of the dream. We know, however, that it is just these 
elements which are usually not accepted in the dream content 
owing to the censor. But still it might be possible that the 
elements immediately following these and representing them 
might show a higher degree of intensity, without, however, 
for that reason constituting the centre of the dream represen- 
tation. This expectation is also destroyed by a comparison 
of the dream and the dream material. The intensity of the 
elements in the one has nothing to do with the intensity of 
the elements in the other ; a complete " transvaluation of 
all psychic values " takes place between the dream-material 
and the dream. The very element which is transient and hazy 
and which is pushed into the background by more vigorous 
images is often the single and only element in which may be 
traced any direct derivative from the subject which entirely 
dominated the dream-thoughts. 

The intensity of the elements of the dream shows itself 
to be determined in a different manner — that is, by two factors 
which are independent of each other. It is easy to see at 
the outset that those elements by means of which the wish- 
fulfilment is expressed are most distinctly represented. But 
then analysis also teaches us that from the most vivid elements 
of the dream, the greatest number of trains of thought start, 
and that the most vivid are at the same time those which are 
best determined. No change of sense is involved if we express 
the latter empirical thesis in the following form : the greatest 



THE DREAM-WORK 307 

intensity is shown by those elements of the dream for which 
the most abundant condensation activity was required. We 
may therefore expect that this condition and the others im- 
posed by the wish-fulfilment can be expressed in a single 
formula. 

The problem which I have just been considering — the 
causes of greater or less intensity or distinctness of individual 
elements of the dream — is one which I should like to guard 
against being confused with another problem, which has to 
do with the varying distinctness of whole dreams or sections 
of dreams. In the first case, the opposite of distinctness is 
blurredness ; in the second, confusion. It is of course unmis- 
takable that the intensities rise and fall in the two scales in 
unison. A portion of the dream which seems clear to us 
usually contains vivid elements ; an obscure dream is com- 
posed of less intense elements. But the problem with which 
we are confronted by the scale, ranging from the apparently 
clear to the indistinct or confused, is far more complicated 
than that formed by variations in the vividness of the dream 
elements ; indeed the former will be dropped from the dis- 
cussion for reasons which will be given later. In isolated 
cases we are astonished to find that the impression of clear- 
ness or indistinctness produced by the dream is altogether 
without significance for its structure, and that it originates 
in the dream material as one of its constituents. Thus I 
remember a dream which seemed particularly well constructed, 
flawless, and clear, so that I made up my mind, while I was 
still in the somnolent state, to recognise a new class of dreams 
— those which had not been subject to the mechanism of con- 
densation and displacement, and which might thus be desig- 
nated " Fancies while asleep." A closer examination proved 
that tins rare dream had the same breaches and flaws in its 
construction as every other ; for this reason I abandoned the 
category of dream fancies. The content of the dream, re- 
duced to its lowest terms, was that I was reciting to a friend a 
difficult and long-sought theory of bisexuality, and the wish- 
fulfilling power of the dream was responsible for the fact 
that this theory (which, by the way, was not stated in the 
dream) appeared so clear and flawless. What I considered 
a judgment upon the finished dream was thus a part of the 



308 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

dream content, and the essential one at that. The dream 
activity had extended its operations, as it were, into waking 
thought, and had presented to me in the form of a judgment 
that part of the dream material which it had not succeeded 
in reproducing with exactness. The exact opposite of this 
once came to my attention in the case of a female patient 
who was at first altogether unwilling to tell a dream which was 
necessary for the analysis, " because it was so obscure and 
confused," and who declared, after repeatedly denying the 
accuracy of her description, that several persons, herself, 
her husband, and her father, had occurred in the dream, and 
that it seemed as though she did not know whether her 
husband was her father, or who her father was anyway, or 
something of that sort. Upon considering this dream in 
connection with the ideas that occurred to the dreamer in the 
course of the sitting, it was found unquestionably to be concerned 
with the story of a servant girl who had to confess that she was 
expecting a child, and who was now confronted with doubts 
as to " who was really the father." * The obscurity mani- 
fested by the dream, therefore, is again in this case a portion 
of the material which excited it. A part of this material 
was represented in the form of the dream. The form of the 
dream or of dreaming is used with astonishing frequency to 
represent the concealed content. 

Comments on the dream and seemingly harmless observa- 
tions about it often serve in the most subtle manner to conceal 
— although they usually betray — a part of what is dreamed. 
Thus, for example, when the dreamer says : Here the dream 
is vague, and the analysis gives an infantile reminiscence of 
listening to a person cleaning himself after defecation. An- 
other example deserves to be recorded in detail. A young 
man has a very distinct dream which recalls to him phan- 
tasies from his infancy which have remained conscious to 
him : he was in a summer hotel one evening, he mistook the 
number of his room, and entered a room in which an elderly 
lady and her two daughters were undressing to go to bed. 
He continues : " Then there are some gays in the dream ; then 
something is missing ; and at the end there was a man in the 

* Accompanying hysterical symptoms: Failure to menstruate and pro- 
found depression, which was the chief ailment of the patient. 



THE DREAM-WORK 309 

room who wished to throw me out with whom I had to wrestle." 
He endeavoured in vain to recall the content and purpose 
of the boyish fancj^ to which the dream apparently alludes. 
But we finally become aware that the required content had 
already been given in his utterances concerning the indistinct 
part of the dream. The " gaps " were the openings in the 
genitals of the women who were retiring : " Here something 
is missing " described the chief character of the female genitals. 
In those early years he burned with curiosity to see a female 
genital, and was still inclined to adhere to the infantile sexual 
theory which attributes a male genital to the woman. 

All the dreams which have been dreamed in the same 
night belong to the same whole when considered with respect 
to their content ; their separation into several portions, their 
grouping and number, all these details are full of meaning, 
and may be considered as information coming from the latent 
dream content. In the interpretation of dreams consisting 
of many principal sections, or of dreams belonging to the 
same night, one must not fail to think of the possibility that 
these different and succeeding dreams bring to expression the 
same feelings in different material. The one that comes 
first in time of these homologous dreams is usually the most 
disfigured and most bashful, while the succeeding is bolder 
and more distinct. 

Even Pharaoh's dream in the Bible of the ears and the 
kine, which Joseph interpreted, was of this kind. It is reported 
by Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, bk. ii. chap, iii.) in greater 
detail than in the Bible. After relating the first dream, the 
King said : " When I had seen this vision I awaked out of my 
sleep, and being in disorder, and considering with myself 
what this appearance should be, I fell asleep again, and saw 
another dream much more wonderful than the first, which 
did still more affright and disturb me." After listening to 
the report of the dream, Joseph said, " This dream, King, 
although seen under two forms, signifies one and the same 
issue of things." 

Jung," who, in his Beitrag zur Psychologie des Gerüchtes 
relates how the veiled erotic dream of a school-girl was under- 
stood by her friends without interpretation and continued 
by them with variations, remarks in connection with reports 



310 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

of this dream, " that the last of a long series of dream pictures 
contained precisely the same thought whose representation 
had been attempted in the first picture of the series. The 
censor pushed the complex out of the way as long as possible, 
through constantly renewed symbolic concealments, dis- 
placements, deviations into the harmless, &c." (I.e. p. 87). 
Schemer 58 was we]l acquainted with the peculiarities of dream 
disfigurement and describes them at the end of his theory 
of organic stimulation as a special law, p. 166 : " But, finally, 
the phantasy observes the general law in all nerve stimuli 
emanating from symbolic dream formations, by representing 
at the beginning of the dream only the remotest and freest 
allusions to the stimulating object ; but towards the end, 
when the power of representation becomes exhausted, it pre- 
sents the stimulus or its concerned organ or its function in 
unconcealed form, and in the way this dream designates its 
organic motive and reaches its end." 

A new confirmation of Schemer's law has been furnished 
by Otto Rank 106 in his work, A Self Interpretation Dream. 
This dream of a girl reported by him consisted of two dreams, 
separated in time of the same night, the second of which ended 
with pollution. This pollution dream could be interpreted 
in all its details by disregarding a great many of the ideas 
contributed by the dreamer, and the profuse relations be- 
tween the two dream contents indicated that the first dream 
expressed in bashful language the same thing as the second, 
so that the latter — the • pollution dream — helped to a full 
explanation of the former. From this example, Rank, with 
perfect justice, draws conclusions concerning the significance 
of pollution dreams in general. 

But in my experience it is only in rare cases that one is 
in a position to interpret clearness or confusion in the dream 
as certainty or doubt in the dream material. Later I shall 
try to discover the factor in the formation of dreams upon 
whose influence this scale of qualities essentially depends. 

In some dreams, which adhere for a time to a certain 
situation and scenery, there occur interruptions dsecribed 
in the following words : " But then it seemed as though it 
were at the same time another place, and there such and such 
a thing happened." What thus interrupts the main trend 



THE DREAM- WORK 311 

of the dream, which after a while may be continued again, 
turns out to be a subordinate idea, an interpolated thought 
in the dream material. A conditional relation in the dream- 
thoughts is represented by simultaneousness in the dream 
(wenn — wann ; if — when). 

What is signified by the sensation of impeded movement, 
which so often occurs in the dream, and which is so closely 
allied to anxiety ? One wants to move, and is unable to stir 
from the spot ; or one wants to accomplish something, and meets 
one obstacle after another. The train is about fco start, and 
one cannot reach it ; one's hand is raised to avenge an insult, 
and its strength fails, &c. We have already encountered 
this sensation in exhibition dreams, but have as yet made no 
serious attempt to interpret it. It is convenient, but inade- 
quate, to answer that there is motor paralysis in sleep, which 
manifests itself by means of the sensation alluded to. We 
may ask : " Why is it, then, that we do not dream continually 
of these impeded motions ? " And we are justified in suppos- 
ing that this sensation, constantly appearing in sleep, serves 
some purpose or other in representation, and is brought about 
by a need occurring in the dream material for this sort of 
representation. 

Failure to accomplish does not always appear in the dream 
as a sensation, but also simply as a parfc of the dream content. 
I believe that a case of this sort is particularly well suited to 
enlighten us about the significance of this characteristic of 
the dream. I shall give an abridged report of a dream in 
which I seem to be accused of dishonesty. The scene is a 
mixture, consisting of a 'private sanatorium and several other 
buildings. A lackey appears to call me to an examination. I 
know in the dream that something has been missed, and that the 
examination is taking place because I am suspected of having 
appropriated the lost article. Analysis shows that examination 
is to be taken in two senses, and also yneans medical examination. 
Being conscious of my innocence, and of the fact that I have been 
called in for consultation, I calmly follow the lackey. We are 
received at the door by another lackey, who says, pointing to me, 
" Is that the person whom you have brought ? Why, he is a 
respectable man." Thereupon, without any lackey, I enter a 
great hall in which machines are sta,nding, and which reminds me 



312 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

of an Inferno with its hellish modes of punishment. I see a 
colleague strapped on to one apparatus who has every reason to 
be concerned about me ; but he takes no notice of me. Then I 
am given to understand that I may now go. Then I cannot find 
my hat, and cannot go after all. 

The wish which the dream fulfils is obviously that I may 
be acknowledged to be an honest man, and may go ; all kinds 
of subject-matter containing a contradiction of this idea must 
therefore be present in the dream-thoughts. The fact that I 
may go is the sign of my absolution ; if, then, the dream 
furnishes at its close an event which prevents me from going, 
we may readily conclude that the suppressed subject-matter 
of the contradiction asserts itself in this feature. The cir- 
cumstance that I cannot find my hat therefore means : " You 
are not an honest man after all." Failure to accomplish in 
the dream is the expression of a contradiction, a " No " ; 
and therefore the earlier assertion, to the effect that the 
dream is not capable of expressing a negation, must be revised 
accordingly.* 

In other dreams which involve failure to accomplish a 
thing not only as a situation but also as a sensation, the same 
contradiction is more emphatically expressed in the form of 
a volition, to which a counter volition opposes itself. Thus 
the sensation of impeded motion represents a conflict of will. 
We shall hear later that this very motor paralysis belongs 
to the fundamental conditions of the psychic process in dream- 
ing. Now the impulse which is transferred to motor channels 
is nothing else than the will, and the fact that we are sure to 
find this impulse impeded in the dream makes the whole process 
extraordinarily well suited to represent volition and the " No " 
which opposes itself thereto. From my explanation of anxiety, 

* A reference to a childhood experience is after complete analysis shown 
to exist by the following intermediaries : " The Moor has done his duty, 
the Moor may go." And then follows the waggish question: "How old is 
the Moor when he has done his duty ? One year. Then he may go." (It 
is said that 1 came into the world with so much black curly hair that my 
young mother declared me to be a Moor.) The circumstance that I do not 
find my hat is an experience of the day which has been turned to account 
with various significations. Our servant, who is a genius at stowing away 
things, had hidden the hat. A suppression of sad thoughts about death is 
also concealed behind the conclusion of the dream : " I have not nearly done 
my duty yet ; I may not go yet." Birth and death, as in the dream that 
occurred shortly before about Goethe and the paralytic (p. 345). 



THE DREAM WORK 313 

it is easy to understand, why the sensation of thwarted will 
is so closely allied to anxiety, and why it is so often connected 
with it in the dream. Anxiety is a libidinous impulse which 
emanates from the unconscious, and is inhibited by the fore- 
conscious. Therefore, when a sensation of inhibition in the 
dream is accompanied by anxiety, there must also be present 
a volition which has at one time been capable of arousing 
a libido ; there must be a sexual impulse. 

What significance and what psychic force is to be ascribed 
to such manifestations of judgment as " For that is only a 
dream," which frequently comes to the surface in dreams, I 
shall discuss in another place {vide infra, p. 390). For the 
present I shall merely say that they serve to depreciate the 
value of the thing dreamed. An interesting problem allied to 
this, namely, the meaning of the fact that sometimes a cer- 
tain content is designated in the dream itself as " dreamed " 
— the riddle of the " dream within the dream " — has been 
solved in a similar sense by W. Stekel 1W through the analysis 
of some convincing examples. The part of the dream 
" dreamed " is again to be depreciated in value and robbed 
of its reality ; that which the dreamer continues to dream 
after awakening from the dream within the dream, is what 
the dream-wish desires to put in place of the extinguished 
reality. It may therefore be assumed that the part 
" dreamed " contains the representation of the reality and 
the real reminiscence, while, on the other hand, the continued 
dream contains the representation of what the dreamer 
wished. The inclusion of a certain content in a " dream 
within the dream " is therefore equivalent to the wish that 
what has just been designated as a dream should not have 
occurred. The dream-work utilises the dream itself as a form 
of deflection. 

(d) Regard for Presentability 

So far we have been attempting to ascertain how the dream 
represents the relations among the dream-thoughts, but we 
have several times extended our consideration to the further 
question of what alterations the dream material undergoes 
for the purposes of dream formation. We now know that 
the dream material, after being stripped of the greater parts 



314 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

of its relations, is subjected to compression, while at the same 
time displacements of intensity among its elements force a 
psychic revaluation of this material. The displacements 
which we have considered were shown to be substitutions of 
one idea for another, the substitute being in some way con- 
nected with the original by associations, and the displacements 
were put to the service of condensation by virtue of the fact 
that in this manner a common mean between two elements 
took the place of these two elements in the formation of the 
dream. We have not yet mentioned any other kind of dis- 
placement. But we learn from the analyses that another 
exists, and that it manifests itself in a change of the verbal 
expression employed for the thought in question. In both 
cases we have displacement following a chain of associations, 
but the same process takes place in different psychic spheres, 
and the result of this displacement in the one case is that one 
element is substituted for another, while in the other case 
an element exchanges its verbal expression for another. 

This second kind of displacement occurring in dream 
formation not only possesses great theoretical interest, but is 
also peculiarly well fitted to explain the semblance of phan- 
tastic absurdity in which the dream disguises itself. Dis- 
placement usually occurs in such a way that a colourless 
and abstract expression in the dream-thought is exchanged 
for one that is visual and concrete. The advantage, and 
consequently the purpose, of this substitution is obvious. 
Whatever is visual is capable of representation in the dream, 
and can be wrought into situations where the abstract ex- 
pression would confront dream representation with diffi- 
culties similar to those which would arise if a political editorial 
were to be represented in an illustrated journal. But not 
only the possibility of representation, but also the interests 
of condensation and of the censor, can be furthered by this 
change. If the abstractly expressed and unwieldy dream- 
thought is recast into figurative language, this new expression 
and the rest of the dream material are more easily furnished 
with those identities and cross references, which are essential 
to the dream activity and which it creates whenever they are 
not at hand, for the reason that in every language concrete 
terms, owing to their evolution, are more abundant in associa- 



THE DREAM WORK 315 

tions than conceptual ones. It may be imagined that in dream 
formation a good part of the intermediary activity, which tries 
to reduce the separate dream-thoughts to the tersest and 
simplest possible expression in the dream, takes place in the 
manner above described — that is to say, in providing suitable 
paraphrase for the individual thoughts. One thought whose 
expression has already been determined on other grounds 
will thus exert a separating and selective influence upon the 
means available for expressing the other, and perhaps it will 
do this constantly throughout, somewhat after the manner of 
the poet. If a poem in rhyme is to be composed, the second 
rhyming line is bound by two conditions ; it must express 
the proper meaning, and it must express it in such a way as 
to secure the rhyme. The best poems are probably those 
in which the poet's effort to find a rhyme is unconscious, and 
in which both thoughts have from the beginning exercised a 
mutual influence in the selection of their verbal expressions, 
which can then be made to rhyme by a means of slight 
remodification. 

In some cases change of expression serves the purposes 
of dream condensation more directly, in making possible the 
invention of a verbal construction which is ambiguous and 
therefore suited to the expression of more than one dream- 
thought. The whole range of word-play is thus put at the 
service of the dream activity. The part played by words 
in the formation of dreams ought not to surprise us. A 
word being a point of junction for a number of conceptions, 
it possesses, so to speak, a predestined ambiguity, and neuroses 
(obsessions, phobias) take advantage of the conveniences 
which words offer for the purposes of condensation and dis- 
guise quite as readily as the dream.* That dream conception 
also profits by this displacement of expression is easily de- 
monstrated. It is naturally confusing if an ambiguous word 
is put in the place of two ambiguous ones ; and the employ- 
ment of a figurative expression instead of the sober everyday 
one thwarts our understanding, especially since the dream never 
tells us whether the elements which it shows are to be inter- 
preted literally or figuratively, or whether they refer to the 

* Cf. Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbeioussten, 2nd edit. 1912, and 
" word-bridges," in the solutions of neurotic symptoms. 



316 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

dream material directly or only through the agency of inter- 
polated forms of speech.* Several examples of representations 
in the dream which are held together only by ambiguity have 
already been cited (" her mouth opens without difficulty," 
in the dream of Irma's injection : "I cannot go yet," in the 
last dream reported, p. 312), &c. I shall now cite a dream 
in the analysis of which the figurative expression of abstract 
thought plays a greater part. The difference between such 
dream interpretation and interpretation by symbolism may 
again be sharply distinguished ; in the symbolic interpreta- 
tion of dreams the key to the symbolism is arbitrarily chosen 
by the interpreter, while in our own cases of verbal disguise all 
these keys are universally known and are taken from estab- 
lished customs of speech. If the correct notion occurs at the 
right opportunity, it is possible to solve dreams of this sort 
completely or in part, independently of any statements made 
by the dreamer. 

A lady, a friend of mine, dreams : She is in the opera- 
house. It is a Wagnerian performance which has lasted till 
7.45 in the morning. In the parquette and parterre there are 
tables, around which people dine and drink. Her cousin and his 
young wife, who have just returned from their honeymoon, sit 
next to her at one of these tables, and next to them sits one of the 
aristocracy. Concerning the latter the idea is that the young wife 
has brought him back with her from the wedding journey. It 
is quite above board, just as if she were bringing back a hat from 
her trip. In the midst of the parquette there is a high tower, on 
the top of which is a platform surrounded by an iron grating. 
There, high up, stands the conductor with the features of Hans 
Richter ; he is continually running around behind the grating, 
perspiring awfully, and from this position conducting the orchestra, 

* In general it is doubtful in the interpretation of every element of the 
dream whether it — 

(a) is to be regarded as having a negative or a positive sense (relation of 

opposition) ; 

(b) is to be interpreted historically (as a reminiscence) ; 

(c) is symbolic ; or whether 

(d) its valuation is to be based upon the sound of its verbal expression. 

In spite of this manifold signification, it may be said that the representation 
of the dream activity does not impose upon the translator any greater 
difficulties than the ancient writers of hieroglyphics imposed upon their 
readers. 



THE DREAM-WORK 317 

which is arranged around the base of the tower. She herself sits 
in a box with a lady friend (known to me). Her youngest sister 
tries to hand her from the parquette a big piece of coal with the 
idea that she did not know that it would last so long and that she 
must by this time be terribly cold. (It was a little as if the boxes 
had to be heated during the long performance.) 

The dream is senseless enough, though the situation is well 
developed too — the tower in the midst of the parquette from 
which the conductor leads the orchestra ; but, above all, 
the coal which her sister hands her ! I purposely asked for 
no analysis of this dream. With the knowledge I have of the 
personal relations of the dreamer, I was able to interpret parts 
of it independently. I knew that she had entertained warm 
feelings for a musician whose career had been prematurely 
blasted by insanity. I therefore decided to take the tower 
in the parquette verbally. It was apparent, then, that the 
man whom she wished to see in the place of Hans Richter 
towered above all the other members of the orchestra. This 
tower must, therefore, be designated as a composite picture 
formed by an apposition ; with its pedestal it represents the 
greatness of the man, but with its gratings on top, behind which 
he runs around like a prisoner or an animal in a cage (an 
allusion to the name of the unfortunate man), it represents 
his later fate. " Lunatic-tower " is perhaps the word in 
which both thoughts might have met. 

Now that we have discovered the dream's method of re- 
presentation, we may try with the same key to open the second 
apparent absurdity, — that of the coal which her sister hands 
her. " Coal " must mean " secret love." 

"No coal, no fire so hotly glows 
As the secret love which no one knows/' 

She and her friend remain seated while her younger sister, 
who still has opportunities to marry, hands her up the coal 
" because she did not know it would last so long." What 
would last so long is not told in the dream. In relating it we 
would supply " the performance " ; but in the dream we 
must take the sentence as it is, declare it ambiguous, and add 
" until she marries." The interpretation " secret love " is 
then confirmed by the mention of the cousin who sits with 



318 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

his wife in the parquette, and by the open love-affair attri- 
buted to the latter. The contrasts between secret and open 
love, between her fire and the coldness of the young wife, 
dominate the dream. Moreover, here again there is a person 
" in high position " as a middle term between the aristocrat 
and the musician entitled to high hopes. 

By means of the above discussion we have at last brought 
to light a third factor, whose part in the transformation of 
the dream thoughts into the dream content is not to be con- 
sidered trivial ; it is the regard for presentability (German : 
Darstellbarkeit) in the 'peculiar psychic material which the dream 
makes use of, — that is fitness for representation, for the most 
part by means of visual images. Among the various subor- 
dinate ideas associated with the essential dream thoughts, 
that one will be preferred which permits of a visual repre- 
sentation, and the dream-activity does not hesitate promptly 
to recast the inflexible thought into another verbal form, 
even if it is the more unusual one, as long as this form makes 
dramatisation possible, and thus puts an end to the psycho- 
logical distress caused by cramped thinking. This pouring 
of the thought content into another mould may at the same 
time be put at the service of the condensation work, and may 
establish relations with another thought which would other- 
wise not be present. This other thought itself may perhaps 
have previously changed its original expression for the purpose 
of meeting these relations half-way. 

In view of the part played by puns, quotations, songs, 
and proverbs in the intellectual life of educated persons, it 
would be entirely in accordance with our expectation to find 
disguises of this sort used with extraordinary frequency. 
For a few kinds of material a universally applicable dream 
symbolism has been established on a basis of generally known 
allusions and equivalents. A good part of this symbolism, 
moreover, is possessed by the dream in common with the 
psychoneuroses, and with legends and popular customs. 

Indeed, if we look more closely, we must recognise that 
in employing this method of substitution the dream is gene- 
rally doing nothing original. For the attainment of its purpose, 
which in this case is the possibility of dramatisation without 
interference from the censor, it simply follows the paths 



THE DREAM-WORK 319 

which it finds already marked out in unconscious thought, 
and gives preference to those transformations of the suppressed 
material which may become conscious also in the form of wit 
and allusion, and with which all the fancies of neurotics are 
filled. Here all at once we come to understand Schemer's 
method of dream interpretation, the essential truth of which 
I have defended elsewhere. The occupation of one's fancy 
with one's own body is by no means peculiar to, or character- 
istic of the dream alone. My analyses have shown me that this 
is a regular occurrence in the unconscious thought of neurotics, 
and goes back to sexual curiosity, the object of which for 
the adolescent youth or maiden is found in the genitals of the 
opposite sex, or even of the same sex. But, as Schemer and 
Volkelt very appropriately declare, the house is not the only 
group of ideas which is used for the symbolisation of the 
body — either in the dream or in the unconscious fancies of 
the neurosis. I know some patients, to be sure, who have 
steadily adhered to an architectural symbolism for the body 
and the genitals (sexual interest certainly extends far beyond 
the region of the external genital organs), to whom posts and 
pillars signify legs (as in the " Song of Songs "), to whom 
every gate suggests a bodily opening (" hole "), and every 
water-main a urinary apparatus, and the like. But the group 
of associations belonging to plant life and to the kitchen is just 
as eagerly chosen to conceal sexual images ; in the first case 
the usage of speech, the result of phantastic comparisons 
dating from the most ancient times, has made abundant pre- 
paration (the " vineyard " of the Lord, the " seeds," the 
" garden " of the girl in the " Song of Songs "). The ugliest 
as well as the most intimate details of sexual life may be 
dreamed about in apparently harmless allusions to culinary 
operations, and the symptoms of hysteria become practically 
unintelligible if we forget that sexual symbolism can conceal 
itself behind the most commonplace and most inconspicuous 
matters, as its best hiding-place. The fact that some neurotic 
children cannot look at blood and raw meat, that they vomit 
at the sight of eggs and noodles, and that the dread of snakes, 
which is natural to mankind, is monstrously exaggerated 
in neurotics, all of this has a definite sexual meaning. Wher- 
ever the neurosis employs a disguise of this sort, it treads the 



320 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

paths once trodden by the whole of humanity in the early 
ages of civilisation — paths of whose existence customs of 
speech, superstitions, and morals still give testimony to 
this day. 

I here insert the promised flower dream of a lady patient, 
in which I have italicised everything which is to be sexually 
interpreted. This beautiful dream seemed to lose its entire 
charm for the dreamer after it had been interpreted. 

(a) Preliminary dream : She goes to the two maids in the 
kitchen and scolds them for taking so long to prepare " a little 
bite of food." She also sees a great many coarse dishes stand- 
ing in the kitchen inverted so that the water may drip off them, 
and heaped up in a pile. Later addition : The two maids go 
to fetch water, and must, as it were, step into a river which reaches 
up into the house or into the yard* 

(b) Main dream f : She is descending from a high place J 
over balustrades that are curiously fashioned or fences which are 
united into big squares and consist of a conglomeration of little 
squares. § It is really not intended for climbing upon ; she is 
worried about finding a place for her foot, and she is glad her 
dress doesn't get caught anywhere, and that she remains so re- 
spectable while she is going. \\ She is also carrying a large bough 
in her hand,^ really a bough of a tree, which is thickly studded 
with red blossoms ; it has many branches, and spreads out.** 
With this is connected the idea of cherry blossoms, but they look 
like full-bloom camelias, which of course do not grow on trees. 
While she is descending, she first has one, then suddenly two, 
and later again only one.ff When she arrives at the bottom of 

* For the interpretation of this preliminary dream, which is to be re- 
garded as " casual," see p. 292. 

t Her career. 

X High birth, the wish contrast to the preliminary dream. 

§ A composite image, which unites two localities, the so-called garret 
(German Boden — floor, garret) of her father's house, in which she played 
with her brother, the object of her later fancies, and the garden of a malicious 
uncle, who used to tease her. 

|| Wish contrast to an actual memory of her uncle's garden, to the effect 
that she used to expose herself while she was asleep. 

If Just as the angel bears a lily stem in the Annunciation. 

** For the explanation of this composite image, see p. 296 ; innocence, 
menstruation, Camille. 

It Iteferring to the plurality of the persons who serve the purpose of her 
fancy. 



THE DREAM-WORK 321 

the lower blossoms they have already fallen off to a considerable 
extent. Now that she is at the bottom, she sees a porter who is 
combing — as she would like to express it — just such a tree — that is, 
who is plucking thick bunches of hair from it, which hang from 
it like 7iioss. Other workmen have chopped off such boughs in 
a garden, and have thrown them upon the street, where they lie 
about, so that many people take some of them. But she asks 
whether that is right, whether anybody may take one.* In the 
garden there stands a young man (having a personality with 
which she is acquainted, not a member of her family) up to 
whom she goes in order to ask him how it is possible to transplant 
such boughs into her own garden. ,f He embraces her, whereat 
she resists and asks him what he means, whether it is permissible 
to embrace her in such a manner. He says that there is no 
wrong in it, that it is permitted. % He then declares himself 
willing to go with her into the other garden, in order to show her 
the transplanting, and he says something to her which she does 
not correctly understand : " Besides this three metres — (later on 
she says : square metres) or three fathoms of ground are lacking." 
It seems as though the man were trying to ask her something in 
return for his affability, as though he had the intention of indemni- 
fying himself in her garden, as though he wanted to evade some 
law or other, to derive some advantage from it without causing 
her an injury. She does not know whether or not he really 
shows her anything. § 

I must mention still another series of associations which 
often serves the purpose of concealing sexual meaning both in 
dreams and in the neurosis, — I refer to the change of residence 
series. To change one's residence is readily replaced by "to 
remove," an ambiguous expression which may have reference to 
clothing. If the dream also contains a " lift " (elevator), one 
may think of the verb " to lift," hence of lifting up the clothing. 

* Whether it is permitted to "pull one off," i.e. to masturbate. 

t The bough has long since been used to represent the male genital, 
and besides that it contains a very distinct allusion to the family name of 
the dreamer. 

% Refers to matrimonial precautions, as does that which follows. 

§ An analogous "biographical" dream was reported on p. 252, as the 
third of the examples of dream symbolism ; a second example is the one 
fully reported by Rank 106 under the title "Traum der sich selbst deutet" ; 
for another one which must be read in the " opposite direction," see Stekel ll4 , 
p. 486. 

X 



322 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

I have naturally an abundance of such material, but a 
report of it would carry us too far into the discussion of 
neurotic conditions. Everything leads to the same conclu- 
sion, that no special symbolising activity of the mind in the 
formation of dreams need be assumed ; that, on the contrary, 
the dream makes use of such symbolisations as are to be 
found ready-made in unconscious thought, because these better 
satisfy the requirements of dream formation, on account of 
their dramatic fitness, and particularly on account of their 
exemption from the censor. 



(e) Examples — Arithmetic Speeches in the Dream 

Before I proceed to assign to its proper place the fourth 
of the factors which control the formation of the dream, I 
shall cite several examples from my collection of dreams for 
the purpose partly of illustrating the co-operation of the three 
factors with which we are acquainted, and partly of supply- 
ing proof for assertions which have been made without de- 
monstration or of drawing irrefutable inferences from them. 
For it has been very difficult for me in the foregoing account 
of the dream activity to demonstrate my conclusions by means 
of examples. Examples for the individual thesis are con- 
vincing only when considered in connection with a dream 
interpretation ; when they are torn from their context they 
lose their significance, and, furthermore, a dream interpreta- 
tion, though not at all profound, soon becomes so extensive 
that it obscures the thread of the discussion which it is intended 
to illustrate. This technical motive may excuse me for now 
mixing together all sorts of things which have nothing in 
common but their relation to the text of the foregoing chapter. 

We shall first consider a few examples of very peculiar 
or unusual methods of representation in the dream. The dream 
of a lady is as follows : A servant girl is standing on a ladder 
as though to clean the windows, and has with her a chimpanzee 
and a gorilla cat (later corrected — angora cat). She throws 
the animals at the dreamer; the chimpanzee cuddles up to her, 
and this is disgusting to her. This dream has accomplished 
its purpose by the simplest possible means, namely by taking 



THE DREAM-WORK 323 

a mere mode of speech literally and representing it according 
to the meaning of its words. " Ape," like the names of ani- 
mals in general, is an epithet of opprobrium, and the situation 
of the dream means nothing but " to hurl invectives." This 
same collection will soon furnish us with further examples 
of the use of this simple artifice. 

Another dream proceeds in a very similar manner : A 
woman with a child that has a conspicuously deformed cranium; 
the dreamer has heard that the child got into this condition owing 
to its position in its mother's womb. The doctor says that the 
cranium might be given a better shape by means of compression, 
but that would harm the brain. She thinks that because it is a 
boy it won't suffer so much from deformity. This dream contains 
a plastic representation of the concept : " Childish impres- 
sions," which the dreamer has heard of in the course of 
explanations concerning the treatment. 

In the following example, the dream activity enters upon 
a different path. The dream contains a recollection of an 
excursion to the Hilmteich, near Graz : There is a terrible 
storm outside ; a miserable hotel — the water is dripping from the 
walls, and the beds are damp. (The latter part of the content 
is less directly expressed than I give it.) The dream signifies 
" superfluous." The abstract idea occurring in the dream 
thoughts is first made equivocal by a certain straining of 
language ; it has, perhaps, been replaced by " overflowing " 
or by " fluid " and " super-fluid (-fluous) " and has then been 
given representation by an accumulation of like impressions. 
Water within, water without, water in the beds in the form 
of dampness — everything fluid and " super " fluid. That, 
for the purposes of the dream representation, the spelling is 
much less regarded than the sound of words ought not sur- 
prise us when we remember that rlryme exercises similar 
privileges. 

The fact that language has at its disposal a great number 
of words which were originally intended in a picturesque and 
concrete sense but are at present used in a faded abstract 
sense has in other cases made it very easy for the dream to 
represent its thoughts. The dream need only restore to these 
words their full significance, or follow the evolution of their 
meaning a little way back. For example, a man dreams that 



324 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

his friend, who is struggling to get out of a very tight place, 
calls upon him to help him. The analysis shows that the tight 
place is a hole, and. that the dream uses symbolically his very 
words to his friend, " Be careful, or you'll get yourself into a 
hole." * Another dreamer climbs upon a mountain from which 
he sees a very extraordinary broad view. He identifies himself 
with his brother who is editing a " review " which deals with 
relations to the Farthest East. 

It would be a separate undertaking to collect such methods 
of representation and to arrange them according to the prin- 
ciples upon which they are based. Some of the representa- 
tions are quite witty. They give the impression that they 
would have never been divined if the dreamer himself had 
not reported them. 

1. A man dreams that he is asked for a name, which, 
however, he cannot recall. He himself explains that this 
means : It does not occur to me in the dream. 

2. A female patient relates a dream in which all the persons 
concerned were especially big. " That means," she adds, 
" that it must deal with an episode of my early childhood, 
for at that time all grown up people naturally seemed to me 
immensely big." 

The transference into childhood is also expressed differ- 
ently in other dreams by translating time into space. One 
sees the persons and scenes in question as if at a great distance, 
at the end of a long road, or as if looked at through the wrong 
end of the opera-glass. 

3. A man, who in waking life shows an inclination to ab- 
stract and indefinite expressions, but who is otherwise endowed 
with wit enough, dreams in a certain connection that he is 
at a railroad station while a train is coming in. But then the 
station platform approaches the train, which stands still ; 
hence an absurd inversion of the real state of affairs. This 
detail is again nothing but an index to remind one that some- 
thing else in the dream should be turned about. The analysis 
of the same dream brings back the recollection of a picture- 
book in which men are represented standing on their heads 
and walking on their hands. 

4. The same dreamer on another occasion relates a short 
* Given by translator as author's example could not be translated. 



THE DREAM-WORK 325 

dream which almost recalls the technique of a rebus. His 
uncle gives him a kiss in an automobile. He immediately 
adds the interpretation, which I should never have found : 
it means Autoerotism. This might have been made as a joke 
in the waking state. 

The dream work often succeeds in representing very 
awkward material, such as proper names, by means of the 
forced utilisation of very far-fetched references. In one of 
my dreams the elder Bruecke has given me a task. I com- 
pound a preparation, and skim something from it which looks 
like crumpled tinfoil. (More of this later on.) The notion cor- 
responding to this, which was not easy to find, is " stanniol," 
and now I know that I have in mind the name of the author 
Stannius, which was borne by a treatise on the nervous system 
of fishes, which I regarded with awe in my youthful years. 
The first scientific task which my teacher gave me was actually 
concerned with the nervous system of a fish — the Ammoccetes. 
Obviously the latter name could never have been used in a 
picture puzzle. 

I shall not omit here to insert a dream having a curious 
content, which is also remarkable as a child's dream, and which 
is very easily explained by the analysis. A lady relates : "I 
can remember that when I was a child I repeatedly dreamed, 
that the dear Lord had a pointed paper hat on his head. They 
used to make me wear such a hat at table very often, so that 
I might not be able to look at the plates of the other children 
and see how much they had received of a particular dish. 
Since I have learned that God is omniscient, the dream signifies 
that I know everything in spite of the hat which I am made 
to wear." 

Wherein the dream work consists, and how it manages its 
material, the dream thoughts, can be shown in a very instruc- 
tive manner from the numbers and calculations which occur 
in dreams. Moreover, numbers in dreams are regarded as of 
especial significance by superstition. I shall therefore give 
a few more examples of this kind from my own collection. 

1. The following is taken from the dream of a lady shortly 
before the close of her treatment : 

She wants to pay for something or other ; her daughter 
takes 3 florins and 65 kreuzer from her pocket-book ; but 



326 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

the mother says : " What are you doing ? It only costs 
21 kreuzer." This bit of dream was immediately intelligible 
to me without further explanation from my knowledge of the 
dreamer's circumstances. The lady was a foreigner who 
had provided for her daughter in an educational institution 
in Vienna, and who could continue my treatment as long as 
her daughter stayed in the city. In three weeks the daughter's 
school year was to end, and with that the treatment also 
stopped. On the day before the dream the principal of the 
institute had urged her to make up her mind to allow her child 
to remain with her for another year. She had then obviously 
worked out this suggestion to the conclusion that in this case 
she would be able to continue the treatment for one year 
more. Now, this is what the dream refers to, for a year is 
equal to 365 days ; the three weeks that remain before the close 
of the school year and of the treatment are equivalent to 21 
days (though the hours of treatment are not as many as that). 
The numerals, which in the dream thoughts referred to time, 
are given money values in the dream, not without also giving 
expression to a deeper meaning for " time is money." 365 
kreuzer, to be sure, are 3 florins and 65 Jcreuzer. The small- 
ness of the sums which appear in the dream is a self-evident 
wish-fulfilment ; the wish has reduced the cost of both the 
treatment and the year's instruction at the institution. 

II. The numerals in another dream involve more compli- 
cated relations. A young lady, who, however, has already 
been married a number of years, learns that an acquaintance 
of hers of about her own age, Elsie L., has just become en- 
gaged. Thereupon she dreams : She is sitting in the theatre 
with her husband, and one side of the orchestra is quite unoccupied. 
Her husband tells her that Elsie L. and her husband Iwd also 
wanted to go, but that they had been able to get nothing but poor 
seats, three for 1 florin and 50 kreuzer, and of course they could 
not take those. She thinks that they didn't lose much either. 

Where do the 1 florin and 50 kreuzer come from ? From 
an occurrence of the previous day which is really indifferent. 
The dreamer's sister-in-law had received 150 florins as a 
present from her husband, and had quickly got rid of them 
by buying some jewelry. Let us note that 150 florins is 100 
times more than 1 florin and 50 kreuzer. Whence the 3 which 



THE DREAM WORK 327 

stands before the theatre seats ? There is only one associa- 
tion for this, namely, that the bride is that many months — 
three — younger than herself. Information concerning the 
significance of the feature that one side of the orchestra re- 
mains empty leads to the solution of the dream. This feature 
is an undisguised allusion to a little occurrence which has 
given her husband good cause for teasing her. She had de 
cided to go to the theatre during the week, and had been careful 
to get tickets a few days before, for which she had to pay the 
pre-emption charge. When they got to the theatre they found 
that one side of the house was almost empty ; she certainly 
did not need to be in such a hurry. 

I shall now substitute the dream thoughts for the dream : 
" It surely was nonsense to marry so early ; there was no need 
for my being in such a hurry. From the case of Elsie L., I see 
that I should have got a husband just the same — and one who 
is a hundred times better (husband, sweetheart, treasure) — 
if I had only waited (antithesis to the haste of her sister-in- 
law). I could have bought three such men for the money 
(the dowry !). Our attention is drawn to the fact that the 
numerals in this dream have changed their meanings and 
relations to a much greater extent than in the one previously 
considered. The transforming and disfiguring activity of 
the dream has in this case been greater, a fact which we in- 
terpret as meaning that these dream thoughts had to over- 
come a particularly great amount of inner psychic resistance 
up to the point of their representation. We must also not 
overlook the circumstance that the dream contains an absurd 
element, namely, that two persons take three seats. We digress 
to the interpretation of the absurdity of dreams when we 
remark that this absurd detail of the dream content is intended 
to represent the most strongly emphasized detail of the dream 
thoughts : "It was nonsense to marry so early." The figure 
3 belonging to a quite subordinate relation of the two 
compared persons (three months' difference in age) has thus 
been skilfully used to produce the nonsense demanded by the 
dream. The reduction of the actual 150 florins to 1 florin and 
50 kreuzer corresponds to her disdain of her husband in the 
suppressed thoughts of the dreamer. 

III. Another example displays the arithmetical powers of 



328 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

the dream, which have brought it into such disrepute. A 

man dreams : He is sitting at B 's (a family of his earlier 

acquaintance) and says, " It was nonsense for you not to give 
me Amy in marriage." Thereupon he asks the girl, " How 
old are you ? " Answer : " I was born in 1882." " Ah, then 
you are 28 years old." 

Since the dream occurs in the year 1898, this is obviously 
poor arithmetic, and the inability of the dreamer to calculate 
may be compared to that of the paralytic, if there is no other 
way of explaining it. My patient was one of those persons 
who are always thinking about every woman they see. The 
person who followed him in my office, regularly for several 
months, was a young lady, whom he used to meet, about whom 
he used to ask frequently, and to whom he was very anxious 
to be polite. This was the lady whose age he estimated at 
28 years. So much for explaining the result of the apparent 
calculation. But 1882 was the year in which he had married. 
He had been unable to refrain from engaging in conversation 
with the two females whom he met at my house — two girls, 
by no means youthful, who alternately opened the door for 
him, and as he did not find them very responsive, he had given 
himself the explanation that they probably considered him 
an elderly " settled " gentleman. 

IV. For another number dream with its interpretation, — 
a dream distinguished by its obvious determination, or rather 
over-determination, I am indebted to B. Dattner : 

My host, a policeman in the municipal service, dreamed 
that he was standing at his post in the street, which was a 
wish-realisation. The inspector then came over to him, 
having on his gorget the numbers 22 and 62 or 26 — at all events 
there were many two's on it. Division of the number 2262 
in the reproduction of the dream at once points to the fact 
that the components have separate meanings. It occurs to 
him that the day before, while on duty, they were discussing 
the duration of their time of service. The occasion for this 
was furnished by an inspector who had been pensioned at 
62 years. The dreamer had only completed 22 years of 
service, and still needed 2 years and 2 months to make him 
eligible for a 90 per cent, pension. The dream first shows 
him the fulfilment of a long wished for wish, the rank of 



THE DREAM-WORK 329 

inspector. The superior with 2262 on his collar is himself ; 
he takes care to do his duty on the street, which is another 
preferred wish ; he has served his 2 years and 2 months, and 
can now be retired from the service with full pension, like the 
62-year-old inspector. 

If we keep in mind these examples and similar ones (to 
follow), we may say : Dream activity does not calculate at 
all, whether correctly or incorrectly ; it joins together in the 
form of a calculation numerals which occur in the dream 
thoughts, and which may serve as allusions to material which 
is incapable of being represented. It thus utilises numerals 
as material for the expression of its purposes in the same manner 
as it does names and speeches known as word presenta- 
tions. 

For the dream activity cannot compose a new speech. 
No matter how many speeches and answers may occur in 
dreams, which may be sensible or absurd in themselves, 
analysis always shows in such cases that the dream has only 
taken from the dream thoughts fragments of speeches which 
have been delivered or heard, and dealt with them in a most 
arbitrary manner. It has not only torn them from their 
context and mutilated them, taken up one piece and rejected 
another, but it has also joined them together in a new way, 
so that the speech which seems coherent in the dream falls 
into three or four sections in the course of analysis. In this 
new utilisation of the words, the dream has often put aside 
the meaning which they had in the dream thoughts, and has 
derived an entirely new meaning from them.* Upon closer 
inspection the more distinct and compact constituents of 
the dream speech may be distinguished from others which 
serve as connectives and have probably been supplied, just 
as we supply omitted letters and syllables in reading. The 
dream speech thus has the structure of breccia stones, in which 

* The neurosis also proceeds in the same manner. I know a patient who 
involuntarily — contrary to her own wishes — hears (hallucinatory) songs or 
fragments of songs without being able to understand their meaning to her 
psychic life. She is surely not a paranoiac. Analysis showed that she 
wrongly utilised the text of these songs by means of a certain license. " Oh 
thou blissful one, Oh thou happy one," is the beginning of a Christmas song. 
By not continuing it to the word " Christmas time " she makes a bridal song 
out of it, &c. The same mechanism of disfigurement may take place also 
without hallucinations as a mere mental occurrence. 



330 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

larger pieces of different material are held together by a 
solidified cohesive mass. 

In a very strict sense this description is correct, to be sure, 
only for those speeches in the dream which have something 
of the sensational character of a speech, and which are de- 
scribed as " speeches." The others which have not, as it were, 
been felt as though heard or spoken (which have no accom- 
panying acoustic or motor emphasis in the dream) are simply 
thoughts such as occur in our waking thought activity, and 
are transferred without change into many dreams. Our 
reading, also, seems to furnish an abundant and not easily 
traceable source of material for speeches, this material being 
of an indifferent nature. Everything, however, which appears 
conspicuously in the dream as a speech can be referred to real 
speeches which have been made or heard by the dreamer himself. 

We have already found examples for the explanation of 
such dream speeches in the analysis of dreams cited for other 
purposes. Here is one example in place of many, all of which 
lead to the same conclusion. 

A large courtyard in which corpses are cremated. The dreamer 
says : " Tm going away from here, I can't look at this.'''' (Not 
a distinct speech.) Then he meets two butcher boys and asks : 
" Well, did it ta,ste good ? " One of them answers : " No, it 
wasn't good." As though it had been human flesh. 

The harmless occasion for this dream is as follows : After 
taking supper with his wife, the dreamer pays a visit to his 
worthy but by no means appetising neighbour. The hospit- 
able old lady is just at her evening meal, and urges him (instead 
of this word a composite sexually-significant word is jocosely 
used among men) to taste of it. He declines, saying that he 
has no appetite. " Go on, you can stand some more," or 
something of the kind. The dreamer is thus forced to taste 
and praise what is offered. " But that's good ! " After he 
is alone again with his wife, he scolds about the neighbour's 
importunity and about the quality of the food he has tasted. 
" I can't stand the sight of it," a phrase not appearing even 
in the dream as an actual speech, is a thought which has refer- 
ence to the physical charms of the lady who invites him, and 
which would be translated as meaning that he does not want 
to look at her. 



THE DREAM-WORK 331 

The analysis of another dream which I cite at this point 
for the sake of the very distinct speech that forms its nucleus, 
but which I shall explain only when we come to consider 
emotions in the dream — will be more instructive. I dream 
very distinctly : / have gone to Bruecke's laboratory at night, 
and upon hearing a soft knocking at the door, I open it to 
(the deceased) Professor Fleischt, who enters in the company of 
several strangers, and after saying a few words sits down at his 
table. Then follows a second dream : My friend Fl. has come 
to Vienna in July without attracting much attention ; I meet 
him on the street while he is in conversation with my (deceased) 
friend P., and I go somewhere or other with these hvo, and they sit 
down opposite each other as though at a little table, while I sit at 
the narrow end of the table facing them. Fl. tells about his sister 
and says : "In three-quarters of an hour she was dead," and then 
something like : " That is the threshold." As P. does not under- 
stand him, Fl. turns to me, and asks me how much I have told 
of his affairs. Whereupon, seized by strange emotions, I want 
to tell Fl. that P. (can't possibly know anything because he) 
is not alive. But, noticing the mistake myself, I say : " Non 
vixit." Then I look at P. searchingly, and under my gaze he 
becomes pale and blurred, his eyes a morbid blue — and at last he 
dissolves. I rejoice greatly at this ; I now understand that Ernest 
Fleischet, too, was only an apparition, a revenant, and I find 
that it is quite possible for such a person to exist only as long as 
one ivants him to, and that he can be made to disappear by the 
wish of another person. 

This beautiful dream unites so many of the character- 
istics of the dream content which are problematic — the 
criticism made in the dream itself in that I myself notice my 
mistake in having said " Non vixit " instead of " Non vivit " ; 
the unconstrained intercourse with dead persons, whom the 
dream itself declares to be dead ; the absurdity of the infer- 
ence and the intense satisfaction which the inference gives 
me — that " by my life " I should like to give a complete 
solution of these problems. But in reality I am incapable 
of doing this — namely, the thing I do in the dream — of 
sacrificing such dear persons to my ambition. With every 
revelation of the true meaning of the dream, with which I 
am well acquainted, I should have been put to shame. Hence 



332 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

I am content with selecting a few of the elements of the dream, 
for interpretation, some here, and others later on another 
page. 

The scene in which I annihilate P. by a glance forms the 
centre of the dream. His eyes become strange and weirdly 
blue, and then he dissolves. This scene is an unmistakable 
copy of one really experienced. I was a demonstrator at 
the physiological institute, and began my service in the early 
hours, and Bruecke learned that I had been late several times 
in getting to the school laboratory. So one morning he came 
promptly for the opening of the class and waited for me. What 
he said to me was brief and to the point ; but the words did 
not matter at all. What overwhelmed me was the terrible 
blue eyes through which he looked at me and before which I 
melted away — as P. does in the dream, for P. has changed 
roles with him much to my relief. Anyone who remembers the 
eyes of the great master, which were wonderfully beautiful until 
old age, and who has ever seen him in anger, can easily imagine 
the emotions of the young transgressor on that occasion. 

But for a long time I was unable to account for the " Non 
Vixit," with which I execute sentence in the dream, until I 
remembered that these two words possessed such great dis- 
tinctness in the dream, not because they were heard or spoken, 
but because they were seen. Then I knew at once where 
they came from. On the pedestal of the statue of Emperor 
Joseph in the Hofburg at Vienna, may be read the following 
beautiful words : 

Saluti patriae vixit 
non diu sed totus. 

I bad culled from this inscription something which suited 
the one inimical train of thought in the dream thoughts 
and which now intended to mean : " That fellow has nothing 
to say, he is not living at all." And I now recalled that the 
dream was dreamed a few days after the unveiling of the 
memorial to Fleischt in the arcades of the university, upon 
which occasion I had again seen Bruecke' s statue and must 
have thought with regret (in the unconscious) how my highly 
gifted friend P. with his great devotion to science had forfeited 
his just claim to a statue in these halls by his premature 



THE DREAM-WORK 333 

death. So I set up this memorial to him in the dream ; the 
first name of my friend P. is Joseph.* 

According to the rules of dream interpretation, I should 
still not be justified in replacing non vivit, which I need, by 
non vixit, which is placed at my disposal by the recollection 
of the Joseph monument. Something now calls my attention 
to the fact that in the dream scene, two trains of thought 
concerning my friend P. meet, one hostile, the other friendly — 
of which the former is superficial, the latter veiled, and both 
are given representation in the same words : non vixit. Be- 
cause my friend P. has deserved well of science, I erect a statue 
to him ; but because he has been guilty of an evil wish (which 
is expressed at the end of the dream) I destroy him. I have 
here constructed a sentence of peculiar resonance, and I must 
have been influenced by some model. But where can I find 
similar antithesis, such a parallel between two opposite atti- 
tudes towards the same person, both claiming to be entirely 
valid, and yet both trying not to encroach upon each other ? 
Such a parallel is to be found in a single place, where, however, 
a deep impression is made upon the reader — in Brutus' speech 
of justification in Shakespeare's Julius Ccesar : "As Caesar 
loved me, I weep for him ; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at 
it ; as he was valiant, I honour him ; but, as he was ambitious 
I slew him." Is not this which I have discovered, the same 
sentence structure and thought contrast as in the dream 
thought ? I thus play Brutus in the dream. If I could only 
find in the dream thoughts, one further trace of confirma- 
tion for this astonishing collateral connection ! I think the 
following might be such : My friend comes to Vienna in 
July. This detail finds no support whatever in reality. To 
my knowledge my friend has never been in Vienna during the 
month of July. But the month of July is named after Julius 
Ccesar, and might therefore very well furnish the required 
allusion to the intermediary thought that I am playing the 
part of Brutus. f 

Strangely enough I once actually played the part of Brutus. 

* As a contribution to the over-determination : My excuse for coming 
late was that after working late at night I had in the morning to make the 
long journey from Kaiser Josef Street to Waehringer Street. 

f In addition Csesar — Kaiser. 



334 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

I presented the scene between Brutus and Caesar from Schiller's 
poems to an audience of children when I was a boy of fourteen 
years. I did this with my nephew, who was a year older than 
I, and who had come to us from England — also a revenont — 
for in him I recognised the playmate of my first childish years. 
Until the end of my third year we had been inseparable, had 
loved each other and scuffled with each other, and, as I have 
already intimated, this childish relation has constantly de- 
termined my later feelings in my intercourse with persons of 
my own age. My nephew John has since found many incar- 
nations, which have revivified first one aspect, then another, of 
this character which is so ineradicably fixed in my unconscious 
memory. Occasionally he must have treated me very badly, 
and I must have shown courage before my tyrant, for in later 
years I have often been told of the short speech with which 
I vindicated myself when my father — his grandfather — 
called me to account : " I hit him because he hit me." This 
childish scene must be the one which causes non vivit to 
branch off into non vixit, for in the language of later childhood 
striking is called wichsen (German, wichsen — to smear with 
shoe-polish, to tan, i.e., to flog) ; the dream activity does not 
hesitate to take advantage of such connections. My hostility 
towards my friend P., which has so little foundation in reality 
— he was far superior to me, and might therefore have been 
a new edition of the playmate of my childhood — can certainly 
be traced to my complicated relations with John during our 
infancy. I shall, however, return to this dream later. 

(/) Absurd Dreams — Intellectual Performances in the Dream 

In our interpretation of dreams thus far we have come 
upon the element of absurdity in the dream-content so often 
that we must no longer postpone an investigation of its cause 
and significance. We remember, of course, that the absurdity 
of dreams has furnished the opponents of dream investigation 
with their chief argument for considering the dream nothing 
but the meaningless product of a reduced and fragmentary 
activity of the mind. 

I begin with specimens in which the absurdity of the 
dream-content is only apparent and immediately disappears 



THE DREAM-WORK 335 

when the dream is more thoroughly examined. There are a 
few dreams which — accidentally one is at first inclined 
to think — are concerned with the dead father of the 
dreamer. 

I. Here is the dream of a patient who had lost his father 
six years before : 

A terrible accident has occurred to his father. He was riding 
in the night train when a derailment took place, the seats came 
together, and his head was crushed from side to side. The 
dreamer sees him lying on the bed with a wound over his left 
eyebrow, which runs off vertically. The dreamer is surprised 
that his father has had a misfortune (since he is dead already, 
as the dreamer adds in telling his dream). His father's eyes are 
so clear. 

According to the standards prevailing in dream criticism, 
this dream-content would have to be explained in the follow- 
ing manner : At first, when the dreamer is picturing his father's 
misfortune, he has forgotten that his father has already been 
in his grave for years ; in the further course of the dream 
this memory comes to life, and causes him to be surprised 
at his own dream even while he is still dreaming. Analysis, 
however, teaches us that it is entirely useless to attempt 
such explanations. The dreamer had given an artist an order 
for a bust of his father, which he had inspected two days 
before the dream. This is the thing which seems to him to 
have met with an accident. The sculptor has never seen the 
father, and is working from photographs which have been 
given him. On the very day before the dream the pious son 
had sent an old servant of the family to the studio in order 
to see whether he would pass the same judgment upon the 
marble head, namely, that it had turned out too narrow from 
side to side, from temple to temple. Now follows the mass 
of recollections which has contributed to the formation of 
this dream. The dreamer's father had a habit, whenever 
he was harassed by business cares or family difficulties, of 
pressing his temples with both hands, as though he were 
trying to compress his head, which seemed to grow too large 
for him. When our dreamer was four years old he was 
present when the accidental discharge of a pistol blackened 
his father's eyes (his eyes are so clear). While alive his father 



336 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

had had a deep wrinkle at the place where the dream shows 
the injury, whenever he was thoughtful or sad. The fact that 
in the dream this wrinkle is replaced by a wound points to 
the second occasion of the dream. The dreamer had taken a 
photograph of his little daughter ; the plate had fallen from 
his hand, and when picked up showed a crack that ran like a 
vertical furrow across the forehead and reached as far as the 
orbital curve. He could not then get the better of his super- 
stitious forebodings, for, on the day before his mother's death, 
a photographic plate with her likeness had cracked as he was 
handling it. 

Thus the absurdity of the dream is only the result of an 
inaccuracy of verbal expression, which does not take the 
trouble to distinguish the bust and the photograph from the 
original. We are all accustomed to say of a picture, " Don't 
you think father is good ? " Of course the appearance of 
absurdity in this dream might easily have been avoided. If 
it were permissible to pass judgment after a single experience, 
one might be tempted to say that this semblance of absurdity 
is admitted or desired. 

II. Here is another very similar example from my own 
dreams (I lost my father in the year 1896) : 

After his death my father has been politically active among 
the Magyars, and has united them into a political body ; to 
accompany which I see a little indistinct picture : a crowd of 
people as in the Reichstag ; a person who is standing on one or 
two benches, others round about him. I remember that he looked 
very like Garibaldi on his death-bed, and I am glad that this 
promise has really come true. 

This is certainly absurd enough. It was dreamed at the 
time that the Hungarians got into a lawless condition, through 
Parliamentary obstruction, and passed through the crisis 
from which Koloman Szell delivered them. The trivial cir- 
cumstance that the scene beheld in the dream consists of such 
little pictures is not without significance for the explanation 
of this element. The usual visual representation of our 
thoughts results in pictures which impress us as being life- 
size ; my dream picture, however, is the reproduction of a 
wood-cut inserted in the text of an illustrated history of 
Austria, representing Maria Theresa in the Reichstag of 



THE DREAM WORK 337 

Pressburg — the famous scene of " Moriamur pro rege nostro." * 
Like Maria Theresa, my father, in the dream, stands sur- 
rounded by the multitude ; but he is standing on one or two 
benches, and thus like a judge on the bench. (He has united 
them — here the intermediary is the phrase, " We shall need 
no judge") Those of us who stood around the death-bed 
of my father actually noticed that he looked much like Gari- 
baldi. He had a post-mortem rise of temperature, his cheeks 
shone redder and redder . . . involuntarily we continue : 
" And behind him lay in phantom radiance that which subdues 
us all — the common thing." 

This elevation of our thoughts prepares us for having to 
deal with this very " common thing." The post-mortem 
feature of the rise in temperature corresponds to the words, 
" after his death " in the dream content. The most agonis- 
ing of his sufferings had been a complete paralysis of the 
intestines (obstruction), which set in during the last weeks. 
All sorts of disrespectful thoughts are connected with this. 
A man of my own age who had lost his father while he was 
still at the Gymnasium, upon which occasion I was profoundly 
moved and tendered him my friendship, once told me, with 
derision, about the distress of a lady relative whose father had 
died on the street and had been brought home, where it turned 
out upon undressing the corpse, that at the moment of death, 
or post-mortem, an evacuation of the bowels had taken place. 
The daughter of the dead man was profoundly unhappy at 
having this ugly detail stain her memory of her father. We 
have now penetrated to the wish that is embodied in this dream. 
To stand before one's children pure and great after one's death, 
who would not wish that ? What has become of the absur- 
dity of the dream ? The appearance of it has been caused 
only by the fact that a perfectly permissible mode of speech 
— in the case of which we are accustomed to ignore the ab- 
surdity that happens to exist between its parts — has been 
faithfully represented in the dream. Here, too, we are unable 

* I have forgotten in what author I found a dream mentioned that was 
overrun with unusually small figures, the source of which turned out to be 
one of the engravings of Jacques Callot, which the dreamer had looked at 
during the day. These engravings contained an enormous number of 
very small figures ; a series of them treats of the horrors of the Thirty 
Years' War. 



338 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

to deny that the semblance of absurdity is one which is desired 
and has been purposely brought about.* 

III. In the example which I now cite I can detect the 
dream activity in the act of purposely manufacturing an 
absurdity for which there is no occasion at all in the subject- 
matter. It is taken from the dream that I had as a result of 
meeting Count Thun before my vacation trip. " i" am riding 
in a one-horse carriage, and give orders to drive to a railway 
station. ' Of course I cannot ride with you on the railway line 
itself,' I say, after the driver made an objection as though I had 
tired him out ; at the same time it seems as though I had already 
driven with him for a distance which one usually rides on the 
train" For this confused and senseless story the analysis 
gives the following explanation : During the day I had hired 

* The frequency with which in the dream dead persons appear as living, 
act, and deal with us, has called forth undue astonishment and given rise to 
strange explanations, from which our ignorance of the dream becomes strik- 
ingly evident. And yet the explanation for these dreams lies very close at 
hand. How often we have occasion to think : " If father were still alive, 
what would he say to it ?" The dream can express this i/in no other way 
than by present time in a definite situation. Thus, for instance, a young 
man, whose grandfather has left him a great inheritance, dreams that his 
grandfather is alive and demands an accounting of him, upon an occasion 
when the young man had been reproached for making too great an expendi- 
ture of money. What we consider a resistance to the dream — the objection 
made by our better knowledge, that after all the man is already dead — is in 
reality a consolation, because the dead person did not have this or that ex- 
perience, or satisfaction at the knowledge that he has nothing more to say. 

Another form of absurdity found in dreams of deceased relatives does 
not express folly and absurdity, but serves to represent the most extreme 
rejection ; as the representation of a repressed thought which one would 
gladly have appear as something least thought of. Dreams of this kind are 
only solvable if one recalls that the dream makes no distinction between 
things desired and realities. Thus, for example, a man who nursed his father 
during his sickness, and who felt his death very keenly, sometime afterward 
dreamed the following senseless dream: The father was again living, and 
conversed with him. as usual, hut (the remarkable thing about it) he had never- 
theless died, though he did 'not know it. This dream can be understood if after 
" he had nevertheless died," one inserts in consequence of the dreamer's wish, 
and if after "but he did not know it" one adds that the dreamer has enter- 
tained this wish. While nursing his father, the son often wishes his father's 
death ; i.e. he entertained the really compassionate desire that death finally 
put an end to his suffering. While mourning after his death, this very wish 
of compassion became an unconscious reproach, as if it had really contri- 
buted to shorten the life of the sick man. Through the awakening of early 
infantile feelings against the father, it became possible to express this re- 
proach as a dream ; and it was just because of the world-wide contrast 
between the dream inciter and day thought that this dream had to come out 
so absurdly {rf. with this, "Formulierungen über die zwei Prizipien des 
seelischen Geschehen«, Jahrbuch, Bleuler-Freud, III, 1, 1911). 



THE DREAM-WORK 339 

a one-horse carriage which was to take me to a remote street 
in Dumbach. The driver, however, did not know the way, 
and kept on driving in the manner of those good people until 
I noticed the fact and showed him the way, not sparing him 
a few mocking remarks withal. From this driver a train of 
thought led to the aristocratic personage whom I was des- 
tined to meet later. For the present I shall only remark 
that what strikes us middle-class plebeians about the aristo- 
cracy is that they like to put themselves in the driver's seat. 
Does not Count Thun guide the Austrian car of state ? The 
next sentence in the dream, however, refers to my brother, 
whom I identify with the driver of the one-horse carriage. 
I had this year refused to take the trip through Italy with 
him ("of course I cannot ride with you on the railway line 
itself "), and this refusal was a sort of punishment for his 
wonted complaint that I usually tired him out on this trip 
(which gets into the dream unchanged) by making him take 
hurried trips and see too many nice things in one day. That 
evening my brother had accompanied me to the railroad 
station, but shortly before getting there had jumped out, 
at the state railway division of the Western Station, in order 
to take a train to Purkersdorf. I remarked to him that he 
could stay with me a little longer, inasmuch as he did not go 
to Purkersdorf by the state railway but by the Western Rail- 
way. This is how it happens that in the dream I rode in the 
wagon a distance which one usually rides on the train. In 
reality, however, it was just the opposite ; I told my brother : 
The distance which you ride on the state railway you could 
ride in my company on the Western Railway. The whole 
confusion of the dream is therefore produced by my inserting 
in the dream the word " wagon " instead of " state railway," 
which, to be sure, does good service in bringing together the 
driver and my brother. I then find in the dream some 
nonsense which seems hardly straightened out by my ex- 
planation, and which almost forms a contradiction to my 
earlier speech ("Of course I cannot ride with you on the rail- 
way line itself "). But as I have no occasion whatever for 
confounding the state railway with the one-horse carriage, I 
must have intentionally formed the whole puzzling story in 
the dream in this way. 



340 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

But with what intention ? We shall now learn what the 
absurdity in the dream signifies, and the motives which ad- 
mitted it or created it. The solution of the mystery in the 
case in question is as follows : In the dream I needed something 
absurd and incomprehensible in connection with " riding " 
(Fahren) because in the dream thoughts I had a certain judg- 
ment which required representation. On an evening at the 
house of the hospitable and clever lady who appears in another 
scene of the same dream as the " hostess," I heard two riddles 
which I could not solve. As they were known to the other 
members of the party, I presented a somewhat ludicrous 
figure in my unsuccessful attempts to find a solution. They 
were two equivoques turning on the words " Nachkommen " 
(to come after — offspring) and " vorfahren " (to ride in 
advance — forefathers, ancestry). They read as follows : 

The coachman does it 

At the master's behest ; 
Everyone has it, 

In the grave does it rest. 

(Ancestry.) 

It was confusing to find half of the second riddle identical 
with the first. 

The coachman does it 

At the master's behest ; 
Not everyone has it, 

In the cradle does it rest. 

(Offspring.) 

As I had seen Count Thun ride in advance (vorfahren), so 
high and mighty, and had merged into the Figaro -mood which 
finds the merit of aristocratic gentlemen in the fact that they 
have taken the trouble to be born (Nachkommen — to become 
offspring), the two riddles became intermediary thoughts 
for the dream-work. As aristocrats can be readily confounded 
with coachmen, and as coachmen were in our country formerly 
called brothers-in-law, the work of condensation could employ 
my brother in the same representation. But the dream 
thought at work in the background was as follows : It is 
nonsense to be proud of one's ancestry. (Vorfahren.) I would 
rather be myself an ancestor. ( Vorfahr. ) For the sake of this 
judgment, "it is nonsense," we have the nonsense in the 



THE DREAM-WORK 341 

dream. We can now also solve the last riddle in this obscure 
passage of the dream, namely, that I have already driven 
before (vorher gefahren, vorgefahren) with the coachman. 

Thus the dream is made absurd if there occurs as one of 
the elements in the dream thoughts the judgment " That 
is nonsense" and in general if disdain and criticism are the 
motives for one of the trains of unconscious thought. Hence 
absurdity becomes one of the means by which the dream 
activity expresses contradiction, as it does by reversing a 
relation in the material between the dream thoughts and 
dream content, and by utilising sensations of motor impedi- 
ment. But absurdity in the dream is not simply to be 
translated by " no " ; it is rather intended to reproduce the 
disposition of the dream thoughts, this being to show mockery 
and ridicule along with the contradiction. It is only for this 
purpose that the dream activity produces anything ridicu- 
lous. Here again it transforms a part of the latent content into 
a manifest form * 

As a matter of fact we have already met with a con- 
vincing example of the significance of an absurd dream. The 
dream, interpreted without analysis, of the Wagnerian per- 
formance lasting until 7.45 in the morning, in which the 
orchestra is conducted from a tower, &c. (see p. 316) is appa- 
rently trying to say : It is a crazy world and an insane society. 
He who deserves a thing doesn't get it, and he who doesn't 
care for anything has it — and in this she means to compare 
her fate with that of her cousin. The fact that dreams con- 
cerning a dead father were the first to furnish us with examples 
of absurdity in dreams is by no means an accident. The 
conditions necessary for the creations of absurd dreams are 
here grouped together in a typical manner. The authority 
belonging to the father has at an early age aroused the criti- 
cism of the child, and the strict demands he has made have 

* Here the dream activity parodies the thought which it designates as 
ridiculous, in that it creates something ridiculous in relation to it. Heine 
does something similar when he tries to mock the bad rhymes of the King 
of Bavaria. He does it in still worse rhymes : 

" Herr Ludwig ist ein grosser Poet 
Und singt er, so stuerzt Apollo 
Vor ihm auf die Knie und bittet und fleht, 
' Halt ein, ich werde sonst toll oh ! '" 



342 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

caused the child to pay particularly close attention to every 
weakness of the father for its own extenuation ; but the piety 
with which the father's personality is surrounded in our 
thoughts, especially after his death, increases the censorship 
which prevents the expressions of this criticism from becoming 
conscious. 

IV. The following is another absurd dream about a dead 
father : 

/ receive a notice from the common council of my native city 
concerning the costs of a confinement in the hospital in the year 
1851, which was necessitated by an attack from which I suffered. 
I make sport of the matter, for, in the first place, I was not yet alive 
in the year 1851, and, in the second place, my father, to whom 
the notice might refer, is already dead. I go to him in the ad- 
joining room, where he is lying on a bed, and tell him about it. 
To my astonishment he recalls that in that year — 1851 — he was 
once drunk and had to be locked up or confined. It was when he 
was working for the house of T— — . " Then you drank, too? " 
/ ask. " You married soon after ? " / figure that I was born 
in 1856, which appears to me as though immediately following. 

In view of the preceding discussion, we shall translate the 
insistence with which this dream exhibits its absurdities as 
the sure sign of a particularly embittered and passionate con- 
troversy in the dream thoughts. With all the more astonish- 
ment, however, we note that in this dream the controversy 
is waged openly, and the father designated as the person 
against whom the satire is directed. This openness seems to 
contradict our assumption of a censor as operative in the 
dream activity. We may say in explanation, however, that 
here the father is only an interposed person, while the conflict 
is carried on with another one, who makes his appearance in 
the dream by means of a single allusion. While the dream 
usually treats of revolt against other persons, behind which 
the father is concealed, the reverse is true here ; the father 
serves as the man of straw to represent others, and hence 
the dream dares thus openly to concern itself with a person 
who is usually hallowed, because there is present the certain 
knowledge that he is not in reality intended. We learn of 
this condition of affairs by considering the occasion of the 
dream. Now, it occurred after I had heard that an older 



THE DREAM-WORK 343 

colleague, whose judgment is considered infallible, had ex- 
pressed disapproval and astonishment at the fact that one 
of my patients was then continuing psychoanalytical work 
with me for the fifth year. The introductory sentences of 
the dream point with transparent disguise to the fact that 
this colleague had for a time taken over the duties which my 
father could no longer perform (expenses, fees at the hospital) ; 
and when our friendly relations came to be broken I was 
thrown into the same conflict of feelings which arises in the 
case of misunderstanding between father and son in view of 
the part played by the father and his earlier functions. The 
dream thoughts now bitterly resent the reproach that I am 
not making better progress, which extends itself from the treat- 
ment of this patient to other things. Does this colleague 
know anyone who can get on faster ? Does he not know that 
conditions of this sort are usually incurable and last for life ? 
What are four or five years in comparison to a whole life, 
especially when life has been made so much easier for the 
patient during the treatment ? 

The impression of absurdity in this dream is brought 
about largely by the fact that sentences from different divisions 
of the dream thoughts are strung together without any re- 
conciling transition. Thus the sentence, / go to him in the 
adjoining room, «Sec, leaves the subject dealt with in the 
preceding sentences, and faithfully reproduces the circum- 
stances under which I told my father about my marriage 
engagement. Thus the dream is trying to remind me of 
the noble disinterestedness which the old man showed at that 
time, and to put it in contrast with the conduct of another, 
a new person. I now perceive that the dream is allowed to 
make sport of my father for the reason that in the dream 
thought he is held up as an example to another man, in full 
recognition of his merit. It is in the nature of every censor- 
ship that it permits the telling of untruth about forbidden 
things rather than truth. The next sentence^ in which my 
father remembers having once been drunk, and having been 
locked up for it, also contains nothing which is actually true 
of my father. The person whom he covers is here a no less 
important one than the great Meynert, in whose footsteps I 
followed with such great veneration, and whose attitude 



344 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

towards me was changed into undisguised hostility after a 
short period of indulgence. The dream recalls to me his own 
statement that in his youth he was addicted to the chloroform 
habit, and that for this he had to enter a sanatorium. It 
recalls also a second experience with him shortly before his 
death. I carried on an embittered literary controversy with 
him concerning hysteria in the male, the existence of which 
he denied, and when I visited him in his last illness and asked 
him how he felt, he dwelt upon the details of his condition 
and concluded with the words : " You know, I have always 
been one of the prettiest cases of masculine hysteria." Thus, 
to my satisfaction, and to my astonishment, he admitted what 
he had so long and so stubbornly opposed. But the fact that 
in this scene I can use my father to cover Meynert is based 
not upon the analogy which has been found to exist between 
the two persons, but upon the slight, but quite adequate, re- 
presentation of a conditional sentence occurring in the dream 
thoughts, which in full would read as follows : "Of course 
if I were of the second generation, the son of a professor or 
of a court-councillor, I should have progressed more rapidly." 
In the dream I now make a court-councillor and a professor 
of my father. The most obvious and most annoying absurdity 
of the dream lies in the treatment of the date 1851, which seems 
to me to be hardly distinguishable from 1856, as though a 
difference of five years ivould signify nothing ivhatever. But 
it is just this idea of the dream thoughts which requires 
expression. Four or five years — that is the length of time 
which 1 enjoyed the support of the colleague mentioned at 
the outset ; but it is also the time during which I kept my 
bride waiting before I married her ; and, through a coincidence 
that is eagerly taken advantage of by the dream thoughts, 
it is also the time during which I am now keeping one of my 
best patients waiting for the completion of his cure. " What 
are five years ? " ask the dream thoughts. " That is no time 
at all for me — that doesn't come into consideration. I have time 
enough ahead of me, and just as what you didn't want to 
believe came true at last, so I shall accomplish this also." 
Besides the number 51, when separated from the number of 
the century, is determined in still another manner and in an 
opposite sense ; for which reason it occurs in the dream 



THE DREAM-WORK 345 

again. Fifty-one is an age at which a man seems particularly 
exposed to danger, at which I have seen many of my colleagues 
suddenly die, and among them one who had been appointed 
to a professorship a few days before, after he had been waiting 
a long time. 

V. Another absurd dream which plays with figures, runs 
as follows : 

One of my acquaintances, Mr. M., has been attacked in an 
essay by no less a person than Goethe, with justifiable vehemence, 
we all think. Mr. M. has, of course, been crushed by this attack. 
He complains of it bitterly at a dinner party ; but he says that 
his veneration for Goethe has not suffered from this personal 
experience. I try to find some explanation of the chronological 
relations, which seem improbable to me. Goethe died in 1832 ; 
since his attack upon M. must of course have taken place earlier, 
Mr. M. was at the time a very young man. It seems plausible 
to me that he was 18 years old. But I do not know exactly what 
year it is at present, and so the whole calculation lapses into 
obscurity. The attack, moreover, is contained in Goethe's well- 
known essay entitled " Nature." 

We shall soon find means to justify the nonsense of this 
dream. Mr. M., with whom I became acquainted at a dinner- 
party, had recently requested me to examine his brother, who 
showed signs of paralytic insanity. The conjecture was right ; 
the painful thing about this visit was that the patient exposed 
his brother by alluding to his youthful pranks when there was 
no occasion in the conversation for his doing so. I had asked 
the patient to tell me the year of his birth, and had got him 
to make several small calculations in order to bring out the 
weakness of his memory — all of which tests he passed fairly 
well. I see now that I am acting like a paralytic in the dream 
(/ do not know exactly what year it is at present). Other subject- 
matter in the dream is drawn from another recent source. 
The editor of a medical journal, a friend of mine, had accepted 
for his paper a very unfavourable, a " crushing," criticism of 
the last book of my friend Fl. of Berlin, the author of which 
was a very youthful reviewer, who was not very competent to 
pass judgment. I thought I had a right to interfere, and 
called the editor to account ; he keenly regretted the accept- 
ance of the criticism, but would not promise redress. There- 



346 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

upon I broke off relations with the journal, and in my letter 
of resignation expressed the hope that our personal relations 
would not suffer from the incident. The third source of this 
dream is an account given by a female patient — it was fresh 
in my memory at the time — of the mental disease of her brother 
who had fallen into a frenzy, crying " Nature, Nature." The 
physicians in attendance thought that the cry was derived 
from a reading of Goethe's beautiful essay, and that it pointed 
to overwork in the patient in the study of natural philosophy. 
I thought rather of the sexual sense in which even less cul- 
tured people with us use the word " Nature," and the fact 
that the unfortunate man later mutilated his genitals seemed 
to show that I was not far wrong. Eighteen years was the 
age of this patient at the time when the attack of frenzy 
occurred. 

If I add further that the book of my friend so severely 
criticised (" It is a question whether the author is crazy or we 
are " had been the opinion of another critic) treats of the 
temporal relations of life and refers the duration of Goethe's 
life to the multiple of a number significant from the point of 
view of biology, it will readily be admitted that I am putting 
myself in the place of my friend in the dream. (I try to find 
some explanation of the chronological relations.) But I behave 
like a paralytic, and the dream revels in absurdity. This 
means, then, as the dream thoughts say ironically. " Of course 
he is the fool, the lunatic, and you are the man of genius 
who knows better. Perhaps, however, it is the other way 
around ? " Now, this other way around is explicitly repre- 
sented in the dream, in that Goethe has attacked the young- 
man, which is absurd, while it is perfectly possible even to-day 
for a young fellow to attack the immortal Goethe, and in that 
I figure from the year of Goethe's death, while I caused the 
paralytic to calculate from the year of Ms birth. 

But I have already promised to show that every dream 
is the result of egotistical motives. Accordingly, I must 
account for the fact that in this dream I make my friend's 
cause my own and put myself in his place. My rational 
conviction in waking thought is not adequate to do this. 
Now, the story of the eighteen-year-old patient and of the 
various interpretations of his cry, " Nature," alludes to my 



THE DREAM-WORK 347 

having brought myself into opposition to most physicians 
by claiming sexual etiology for the psychoneuroses. I may 
say to myself : " The same kind of criticism your friend met 
with you will meet with too, and have already met with to 
some extent," and now I may replace the " he " in the dream 
thoughts by " we." " Yes, you are right ; we two are the fools." 
That mea res agitur, is clearly shown by the mention of 
the short, incomparably beautiful essay of Goethe, for it was 
a public reading of this essay which induced me to study the 
natural science while I was still undecided in the graduating 
class of the Gymnasium. 

VI. I am also bound to show of another dream in which 
my ego does not occur that it is egotistic. On page 228 I 
mentioned a short dream in which Professor M. says : " My 
son, the myopic . . . " ; and I stated that this was only a 
preh'minary dream to another one, in which I play a part. 
Here is the main dream, omitted above, which challenges us 
to explain its absurd and unintelligible word-formation. 

On account of some happenings or other in the city of Rome 
it is necessary for the children to flee, and this they do. The scene 
is then laid before a gate, a two-winged gate in antique style (the 
Porta Romana in Siena, as I knoiv while I am still dreaming). 
I am sitting on the edge of a well, and am very sad ; I almost weep. 
A feminine person — nurse, nun — brings out the two boys and 
hands them over to their father, who is not myself. The elder 
of the two is distinctly my eldest son, and I do not see the face of 
the other ; the woman who brings the boy asks him for a parting 
kiss. She is distinguished by a red nose. The boy denies her 
the kiss, but says to her. extending his hand to her in parting, 
'•Auf Geseres" and to both of us (or to one of us) "Auf 
Ungeseres." I have the idea that the latter indicates an advantage. 

This dream is built upon a tangle of thoughts induced by 
a play I saw at the theatre, called Das neue Ghetto ("The 
New Ghetto.") The Jewish question, anxiety about the future 
of my children who cannot be given a native country of their 
own, anxiety about bringing them up so that they may have 
the right of native citizens — all these features may easily be 
recognised in the accompanying dream thoughts. 

" We sat by the waters of Babylon and wept." Siena, 
like Rome, is famous for its beautiful fountains. In the dream 



348 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

I must find a substitute of some kind for Rome (cf. p. 163) 
in localities which are known to me. Near the Porta Romana 
of Siena we saw a large, brightly illuminated building, which 
we found to be the Manicomio, the insane asylum. Shortly 
before the dream I had heard that a co-religionist had been 
forced to resign a position at a state asylum which he had 
secured with great effort. 

Our interest is aroused bj the speech : "Auf Geseres " — 
where we might expect, from the situation maintained through- 
out the dream, " Auf Wiedersehen " (Au revoir) — and by its 
quite meaningless opposite, " Auf Ungeseres." 

According to information I have received from Hebrew 
scholars, Geseres is a genuine Hebrew word derived from the 
verb goiser, and may best be rendered by " ordained suffer- 
ings, fated disaster." From its use in the Jewish jargon one 
might think it signified " wailing and lamentation." Un- 
geseres is a coinage of my own and first attracts my attention ; 
but for the present it baffles me. The little observation at 
the end of the dream, that Ungeseres indicates an advan- 
tage over Geseres opens the way to the associations 
and to an explanation. The same relation holds good with 
caviare ; the unsalted kind * is more highly prized than the 
salted. Caviare to the general, " noble passions " ; herein 
lies concealed a joking allusion to a member of my household, 
of whom I hope — for she is younger than I — that she will 
watch over the future of my children ; this, too, agrees with 
the fact that another member of my household, our worthy 
nurse, is clearly indicated in the nurse (or nun) of the dream. 
But a connecting link is wanting between the pair, salted and 
unsalted, and Geseres — ungeseres. This is to be found in 
soured and unsoured. In their flight or exodus out of Egypt, 
the children of Israel did not have time to allow their bread 
to be leavened, and in memory of the event to this day they 
eat unsoured bread at Easter time. Here I can also find room 
for the sudden notion which came to me in this part of the 
analysis. I remembered how we promenaded about the city of 
Breslau, which was strange to us, at the end of the Easter 

* Note the resemblance of Geseres and Ungeseres to the German words 
for salted and unsalted — gesalzen and ungesalzen; also to the German words 
for soured and unsoured— gesäuert and ungesäuert. (Translator.) 



THE DREAM-WORK 349 

holidays, my friend from Berlin and I. A little girl asked me 
to tell her the way to a certain street ; I had to tell her I did 
not know it, whereupon I remarked to my friend, " I hope 
that later on in life the little one will show more perspicacity 
in selecting the persons by whom she allows herself to be 
guided." Shortly afterwards a sign caught my eye : " Dr. 
Herod, office hours. . . ." I said to myself : "I hope 
this colleague does not happen to be a children's specialist." 
Meanwhile my friend had been developing his views on 
the biological significance of bilateral symmetry, and had 
begun a sentence as follows : "If we had but one eye 
in the middle of our foreheads like Cyclops. . . ." This 
leads us to the speech of the professor in the preliminary dream : 
" My son, the myotic." And now I have been led to the 
chief source for Oeseres. Many years ago, when this son of 
Professor M., who is to-day an independent thinker, was 
still sitting on his school-bench, he contracted a disease of 
the eye, which the doctor declared gave cause for anxiety. 
He was of the opinion that as long as it remained in one eye 
it would not matter ; if, however, it should extend to the 
other eye, it would be serious. The disease healed in the 
one eye without leaving any bad effects ; shortly afterwards, 
however, its symptoms actually appeared in the other eye. 
The terrified mother of the boy immediately summoned the 
physician to the seclusion of her country resort. But he 
took another view of the matter. " What sort of ' Oeseres ' is 
this you are making ? " he said to his mother with impatience. 
" If one side got well, the other side will get well too." And 
so it turned out. 

And now as to the connection between this and myself 
and those dear to me. The school-bench upon which the son 
of Professor M. learned his first lessons has become the property 
of my eldest son — it was given to his mother — into whose 
lips I put the words of parting in the dream. One of the 
wishes that can be attached to this transference may now 
easily be guessed. This school-bench is intended by its con- 
struction to guard the child from becoming shortsighted and 
one-sided. Hence, myopia (and behind the Cyclops) and the 
discussion about bilateralism. The concern about one- 
sidedness is of two-fold signification ; along with the bodily 



350 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

one-sidedness, that of intellectual development may be re- 
ferred to. Does it not seem as though the scene in the 
dream, with all its madness, were putting its negative on just 
this anxiety ? After the child has said his word of parting 
on the one side, he calls out its opposite on the other side, as 
though in order to establish an equilibrium. He is acting, as 
it were, in obedience to bilateral symmetry ! 

Thus the dream frequently has the profoundest meaning 
in places where it seems most absurd. In all ages those who 
had something to say and were unable to say it without danger 
to themselves gladly put on the cap and bells. The listener 
for whom the forbidden saying Avas intended was more likely 
to tolerate it if he was able to laugh at it, and to flatter him- 
self with the comment that what he disliked was obviously 
something absurd. The dream proceeds in reality just as 
the prince does in the play who must counterfeit the fool, 
and hence the same thing may be said of the dream which 
Hamlet says of himself, substituting an unintelligible witti- 
cism for the real conditions : " I am but mad north-north-west ; 
when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw." * 

Thus my solution of the problem of the absurdity of dreams 
is that the dream thoughts are never absurd — at least not 
those belonging to the dreams of sane persons — and that the 
dream activity produces absurd dreams and dreams with 
individual absurd elements if criticism, ridicule, and derision 
in the dream thoughts are to be represented by it in its 
manner of expression. My next concern is to show that the 
dream activity is primarily brought about by the co-operation 
of the three factors which have been mentioned — and of a 
fourth one which remains to be cited — that it accomplishes 
nothing short of a transposition of the dream thoughts, ob- 
serving the three conditions which are prescribed for it, and 
that the question whether the mind operates in the dream 
with all its faculties, or only with a portion of them, is deprived 

* This dream ulso furnishes a good example for the general thesis that 
dreams of the same night, even though they he separated in memory, spring 
from the same thought material. The dream situation in which I am 
rescuing my children from the city of Rome, moreover, is disfigured by a 
reference to an episode belonging to my childhood. The meaning is that I 
envy certain relatives who years ago had occasion to transplant their 
children to another soil. 



THE DREAM- WORK 351 

of its cogency and is inapplicable to the actual circumstances. 
But since there are plenty of dreams in which judgments 
are passed, criticisms made, and facts recognised, in which 
astonishment at some single element of the dream appears, and 
arguments and explanations are attempted, I must meet the 
objections which may be inferred from these occurrences by 
the citation of selected examples. 

My answer is as follows : Everything in the dream which 
occurs as an apparent exercise of the critical faculty is to be 
regarded, not as an intellectual accomplishment of the dream 
activity, but as belonging to the material of the dream thoughts, 
and it has found its way from them as a finished structure to 
the manifest dream content. I may go even further than this. 
Even the judgments which are passed upon the dream as 
it is remembered after awakening and the feelings which 
are aroused by the reproduction of the dream, belong in good 
part to the latent dream content, and must be fitted into their 
place in the interpretation of the dream. 

I. A striking example of this I have already given. A 
female patient does not wish to relate her dream because it 
is too vague. She has seen a person in the dream, and does 
not know whether it is her husband or her father. Then 
follows a second dream fragment in which there occurs a 
" manure-can," which gives rise to the following reminiscence. 
As a young housewife, she once jokingly declared in the 
presence of a young relative who frequented the house that her 
next care would be to procure a new manure-can. The next 
morning one was sent to her, but it was rilled with lilies of the 
valley. This part of the dream served to represent the saying, 
" Not grown on your own manure." * When we complete 
the analysis we find that in the dream thoughts it is a matter 
of the after-effects of a story heard in youth, to the effect 
that a girl had given birth to a child concerning whom it was 
not clear who was the real father. The dream representation 
here goes over into the waking thought, and allows one element 
of the dream thoughts to be represented by a judgment 
expressed in the waking state upon the whole dream. 

* This German expression is equivalent to our saying "You are not 
responsible for that," or "That has not s beeu acquired through your own 
efforts." (Translator.) 



352 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

II. A similar case : One of my patients has a dream 
which seems interesting to him, for he says to himself immedi- 
ately after awakening : "I must tell that to the doctor." The 
dream is analysed, and shows the most distinct allusion to 
an affair in which he had become involved during the treat- 
ment, and of which he had decided to tell me nothing." * 

III. Here is a third example from my own experience : 

I go to the hospital with P. through a region in which houses 
and gardens occur. With this comes the idea that I have already 
seen this region in dreams several times. I do not know my 
way very well ; P. shows me a way which leads through a corner 
to a restaurant {a room, not a garden) ; here I ash for Mrs. 
Doni, and I hear that she is living in the background in a little 
room with three children. I go there, and while on the way I 
meet an indistinct person ivith my two little girls, whom I take 
with me after I have stood with them for a while. A kind of 
reproach against my wife for having left them there. 

Upon awakening I feel great satisfaction, the cause for 
this being the fact that I am now going to learn from the 
analysis what is meant by the idea " / have already dreamed 
of that." f But the analysis of the dream teaches me nothing 
on the subject ; it only shows me that the satisfaction belongs 
to the latent dream content, and not to my judgment upon 
the dream. It is satisfaction over the fact that I have had 
children by my marriage. P. is a person in whose company 
I walked the path of life for a certain space, but who has since 
far outdistanced me socially and materially — whose marriage, 
however, has remained childless. The two occasions for the 
dream furnishing the proof of this may be found by means of 
complete analysis. On the previous day I had read in the 

paper the obituary notice of a certain Mrs. Dona A y (out 

of which I make Doni), who had died in childbirth ; I was 
told by my wife that the dead woman had been nursed by the 
same midwife she herself had had at the birth of our two 

* The injunction or purpose contained in the dream, " I must tell 
that to the doctor," which occurs in dreams that are dreamed in the 
course of psycho-analytical treatment, regularly corresponds to a great 
resistance to the confession involved in the dream, and is not infrequently 
followed by forgetting of the dream. 

t A subject about which an extensive discussion has taken place in 
the volumes of the Revue. Philosophique — (Paramnesia in the Dream). 



THE DREAM-WORK 353 

youngest boys. The name Dona had caught my attention, 
for I had. recently found it for the first time in an English 
novel. The other occasion for the dream may be found in 
the date on which it was dreamed ; it was on the night before 
the birthday of my eldest boy, who, it seems, is poetically 
gifted. 

IV. The same satisfaction remained with me after awaken- 
ing from the absurd dream that my father, after his death, had 
played a political part among the Magyars, and it is motivated 
by a continuance of the feeling which accompanied the last 
sentence of the dream : " / remember that on his deathbed he 
looked so much like Garibaldi, and I am glad that it has really 
come true. (Here belongs a forgotten continuation.) I can now 
supply from the analysis what belongs in this gap of the dream. 
It is the mention of my second boy, to whom I have given the 
first name of a great historical personage, who attracted me 
powerfully during my boyhood, especially during my stay in 
England. I had to wait for a year after making up my mind 
to use this name in case the expected child should be a son, 
and I greeted him with it in high satisfaction as soon as he was 
born. It is easy to see how the father's lust for greatness is 
transferred in his thoughts to his children ; it will readily be 
believed that this is one of the ways in which the suppression 
of this lust which becomes necessary in life is brought about. 
The little fellow won a place in the text of this dream by virtue 
of the fact that the same accident — quite pardonable in a 
child or a dying person — of soiling his clothes had happened 
to him. With this may be compared the allusion " Stuhl- 
richter " (judge on the stool-bench, i.e. presiding judge) and 
the wish of the dream : To stand before one's children great 
and pure. 

V. I am now called upon to find expressions of judgment 
which remain in the dream itself, and are not retained in or 
transferred to our waking thoughts, and I shall consider it a 
great relief if I may find examples in dreams, which have 
already been cited for other purposes. The dream about 
Goethe's attacking Mr. M. seems to contain a considerable 
number of acts of judgment, i" try to find some explanation of 
the chronological relations, which seem improbable to me. Does 
not this look like a critical impulse directed against the non- 

z 



354 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

sensical idea that Goethe should, have made a literary attack 
upon a young man of my acquaintance ? "It seems plausible 
to me that he was 18 years old." That sounds quite like 
the result of a dull-witted calculation ; and " I do not know 
exactly what year it is " would be an example of uncertainty 
or doubt in the dream. 

But I know from analysis that these acts of judgment, 
which seem to have been performed in the dream for the first 
time, admit of a different construction in the light of which 
they become indispensable for interpreting the dream, and at 
the same time every absurdity is avoided. With the sentence, 
" / try to find some explanation of the chronological relations," 
I put myself in the place of my friend who is actually trying 
to explain the chronological relations of life. The sentence 
then loses its significance as a judgment that objects to the 
nonsense of the previous sentences. The interposition, " which 
seems improbable to me," belongs to the subsequent " it seems 
plausible to me." In about the same words I had answered 
the lady who told me the story of her brother's illness : " It 
seems improbable to me that the cry of ' Nature, Nature,' had 
anything to do with Goethe ; it appears much more plausible 
that it had the sexual significance which is known to you." 
To be sure, a judgment has been passed here, not, however, 
in the dream but in reality, on an occasion which is remembered 
and utilised by the dream thoughts. The dream content 
appropriates this judgment like any other fragment of the 
dream thoughts. 

The numeral 18, with which the judgment in the dream is 
meaninglessly connected, still preserves a trace of the context 
from which the real judgment was torn. Finally, " / am not 
certain what year it is " is intended for nothing else than 
to carry out my identification with the paralytic, in the 
examination of whom this point of confirmation had actually 
been established. 

In the solution of these apparent acts of judgment, in the 
dream, it may be well to call attention to the rule of interpre- 
tation which says that the coherence which is fabricated in 
the dream between its constituent parts is to be disregarded 
us specious and unessential, and that every dream element must 
be taken by itself and traced to its source. The dream is 



THE DREAM-WORK 355 

a conglomeration, which is to be broken up into its elements 
for the purposes of investigation. But other circumstances 
call our attention to the fact that a psychic force is expressed 
in dreams which establishes this apparent coherence — that 
is to say, which subjects the material that is obtained by the 
dream activity to a secondary elaboration. We are here con- 
fronted with manifestations of this force, upon which we shall 
later fix our attention as being the fourth of the factors which 
take part in the formation of the dream. 

VI. I select other examples of critical activity in the dreams 
which have already been cited. In the absurd dream about 
the communication from the common council I ask the ques- 
tion : " You married shortly after ? I figure that I was born in 
1856, which appears to me as though following immediately. 
This quite takes the form of an inference. My father married 
shortly after his attack in the year 1851 ; I am the oldest son, 
born in 1856 ; this agrees perfectly. We know that this in- 
ference has been interpolated by the wish-fulfilment, and that 
the sentence which dominates the dream thoughts is to the 
following effect : 4 or 5 years, that is no time at all, that need not 
enter the calculation. But every part of this chain of inferences 
is to be determined from the dream thoughts in a different 
manner, both as to its content and as to its form. It is the 
patient — about whose endurance my colleague complains — 
who intends to marry immediately after the close of the 
treatment. The manner in which I deal with my father in 
the dream recalls an inquest or examination, and with that the 
person of a university instructor who was in the habit of taking 
a complete list of credentials at the enrolment of his class : 
" You were born when ? " In 1856. " Patre ? " Then the 
applicant gave the first name of his father with a Latin ending, 
and we students assumed that the Aulic Councillor drew 
inferences from the first name of the father which the name 
of the enrolled student would not always have supplied. Ac- 
cording to this, the drawing of inferences in the dream would 
be merely a repetition of the drawing of inferences which 
appears as part of the subject-matter in the dream thoughts. 
From this we learn something new. If an inference occurs 
in the dream content, it invariably comes from the dream 
thoughts ; it may be contained in these as a bit of remembered 



356 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

material, or it may serve as a logical connective in a series 
of dream thoughts. In any case an inference in the dream 
represents an inference in the dream thoughts.* 

The analysis of this dream should be continued here. 
With the inquest of the Professor there is connected the re- 
collection of an index (published in Latin during my time) 
of the university students ; also of my course of studies. 
The five years provided for the study of medicine were as usual 
not enough for me. I worked along unconcernedly in the 
succeeding years ; in the circle of my acquaintances I was 
considered a loafer, and there was doubt as to whether I 
would " get through." Then all at once I decided to take 
my examinations ; and I got " through," in spite of the post- 
ponement. This is a new confirmation of the dream thoughts, 
which I defiantly hold up to my critics : " Even though you 
are unwilling to believe it, because I take my time, I shall 
reach a conclusion (German Schluss, meaning either end or 
conclusion, inference). It has often happened that way." 

In its introductory portion this dream contains several 
sentences which cannot well be denied the character of an 
argumentation. And this argumentation is not at all absurd ; 
it might just as well belong to waking thought. In the dream 
I make sport of the communication of the Common Council, for 
in the first place I was not yet in the world in 1851, and in the 
second place, my father, to whom it might refer, is already dead. 
Both are not only correct in themselves, but coincide com- 
pletely with the arguments that I should use in case I should 
receive a communication of the sort mentioned. We know 
from our previous analysis that this dream has sprung from 
deeply embittered and scornful dream thoughts ; if we may 
assume further that the motive for censorship is a very strong 
one, we shall understand that the dream activity has every 
reason to create a flawless refutation of a baseless insinuation 
according to the model contained in the dream thoughts. 
But analysis shows that in this case the dream activity has not 
had the task of making a free copy, but it has been required 

* These results correct in several respects my earlier statements 
concerning the representation of logical relations (p. 290). The latter 
described the general conditions of dream activity, but they did not take 
into consideration its finest and most careful performances. 



THE DREAM-WORK 357 

to use subject-matter from the dream thoughts for its purpose. 
It is as if in an algebraic equation there occurred plus and minus 
signs, signs of powers and of roots, besides the figures, and 
as if someone, in copying this equation without understanding 
it, should take over into his copy the signs of operation as 
well as the figures, and fail to distinguish between the two 
kinds. The two arguments may be traced to the following 
material. It is painful for me to think that many of the 
assumptions upon which I base my solution of psychoneuroses, 
as soon as they have become known, will arouse scepticism 
and ridicule. Thus I must maintain that impressions from 
the second year of life, or even from the first, leave a lasting 
trace upon the temperament of persons who later become 
diseased, and that these impressions — greatly distorted it is 
true, and exaggerated by memory — are capable of furnishing 
the original and fundamental basis of hysterical symptoms. 
Patients to whom I explain this in its proper place are in the 
habit of making a parody upon the explanation by declaring 
themselves willing to look for reminiscences of the period 
luhen they were not yet alive. It would quite accord with 
my expectation, if enlightenment on the subject of the un- 
suspected part played by the father in the earliest sexual 
impulses of feminine patients should get a similar reception. 
(Cf. the discussion on p. 218.) And, nevertheless, both 
positions are correct according to my well-founded conviction. 
In confirmation I recall certain examples in which the death 
of the father happened when the child was very young, and 
later events, otherwise inexplicable, proved that the child 
had unconsciously preserved recollections of the persons who 
had so early gone out of its life. I know that both of my 
assertions are based upon inferences the validity of which will 
be attacked. If the subject-matter of these very inferences 
which I fear will be contested is used by the dream activity 
for setting up incontestable inferences, this is a performance of 
the wish-fulfilment. 

VII. In a dream which I have hitherto only touched 
upon, astonishment at the subject to be broached is distinctly 
expressed at the outset. 

" The elder Brueche must have given me some task or other ; 
strangely enough it relates to the preparation of my own lower 



358 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

body, pelvis and legs, which I see before me as though in the dis- 
secting room, but without feeling my lack of body and without a 
trace of horror. Louise N. is standing near, and doing her work 
next to me. The pelvis is eviscerated ; now the upper, now the 
lower view of the same is seen, and the two views mingle. Thick 
fleshy red lumps {which even in the dream make me think of 
hemorrhoids) are to be seen. Also something had to be carefully 
picked out, which lay over these and which looked like crumpled 
tin-foil * Then I was again in possession of my legs and made 
a journey through the city, but took a wagon (owing to my fatigue). 
To my astonishment the wagon drove into a house door, which 
opened and allowed it to pass into a passage that ivas snapped 
off at the end, and finally led further on into the open.~\ At last 
I wandered through changing landscapes with an Alpine guide, 
who carried my things. He carried, me for some way, out of con- 
sideration for my tired legs. The ground was muddy, and we 
went along the edge ; people sat on the ground, a girl among them, 
like Indians or Gypsies. Previously I had moved myself along 
on the slippery ground, with constant astonishment that I was 
so well able to do it after the preparation. At last we came to a 
small wooden house which ended in an open window. Here the 
guide set me down, and laid two wooden boards which stood in 
readiness on the window sill, in order that in this way the chasm 
might be bridged which had to be crossed in order to get to the 
windoio. Now, I grew really frightened about my legs. In- 
stead of the expected crossing, I saw two grown-up men lying 
upon wooden benches which were on the walls of the hut, and some- 
thing like two sleeping children next to them. It seems as though 
not the boards but the children were intended to make possible the 
crossing. I awakened with frightened thoughts. 

Anyone who has formed a proper idea of the abundance of 
dream condensation will easily be able to imagine how great 
a number of pages the detailed analysis of this dream must 
fill. Luckily for the context, I shall take from it merely the 
one example of astonishment, in the dream, which makes its 
appearance in the parenthetical remark, " strangely enough." 

* Stanniol, allusion to Stannius, the nervous system of fishes ; cf. p. 325. 

t The place in the corridor of my apartment house where the baby 
carriages of the other tenants stand ; it is also otherwise several times 
over-determined. 



THE DREAM- WORK 359 

Let us take up the occasion of the dream. It is a visit of this 
lady, Louise N., who assists at the work in the dream. She 
says : " Lend me something to read." I offer her She, by 
Rider Haggard. " A strange book, but full of hidden sense," 
I try to explain to her ; " the eternal feminine, the immor- 
tality of our emotions " Here she interrupts me : "I 

know that book already. Haven't you something of your 
own ? " " No, my own immortal works are still unwritten." 
" Well, when are you going to publish your so-called latest 
revelations which you promised us would be good reading ? " 
she asks somewhat sarcastically. I now perceive that she is 
a mouthpiece for someone else, and I become silent. I think 
of the effort it costs me to publish even my work on the Dream, 
in which I have to surrender so much of my own intimate 
character. " The best that you know you can't tell to the 
children." The preparation of my own body, which I am ordered 
to make in the dream, is thus the self-analysis necessitated in 
the communication of my dreams. The elder Bruecke very 
properly finds a place here ; in these first years of my scientific 
work it happened that I neglected a discovery, until his ener- 
getic commands forced me to publish it. But the other trains 
of thought which start from my conversation with Louise N. 
go too deep to become conscious ; they are side-tracked by 
way of the related material which has been awakened in me 
by the mention of Rider Haggard's She. The comment 
" strangely enough " goes with this book, and with another by 
the same author, The Heart of the World, and numerous 
elements of the dream are taken from these two fantastic 
novels. The muddy ground over which the dreamer is carried, 
the chasm which must be crossed by means of the boards 
that have been brought along, come from She; the Indians, 
the girl, and the wooden house, from the Heart of the World. 
In both novels a woman is the leader, both treat of dangerous 
wanderings ; She has to do with an adventurous journey to 
the undiscovered country, a place almost untrodden by foot 
of man. According to a note which I find in my record of the 
dream, the fatigue in my legs was a real sensation of those 
days. Doubtless in correspondence with this came a tired 
frame of mind and the doubting question : " How much 
further will my legs carry me ? " The adventure in She 



360 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

ends with the woman leader's meeting her death in the 
mysterious fire at the centre of the earth, instead of attaining 
immortality for herself and others. A fear of this sort has 
unmistakably arisen in the dream thoughts. The " wooden 
house," also, is surely the coffin — that is, the grave. But 
the dream activity has performed its masterpiece in repre- 
senting this most unwished-for of all thoughts by means of 
a wish-fulfilment. I have already once been in a grave, but 
it was an empty Etruscan grave near Orvieto — a narrow 
chamber with two stone benches on the walls, upon which the 
skeletons of two grown-up persons had been laid. The interior 
of the wooden house in the dream looks exactly like this, 
except that wood has been substituted for stone. The dream 
seems to say : "If you must so soon lie in your grave, let it 
be this Etruscan grave," and by means of this interpolation it 
transforms the saddest expectation into one that is really to be 
desired. As we shall learn, it is, unfortunately, only the idea 
accompanying an emotion which the dream can change into 
its opposite, not usually the emotion itself. Thus I awake 
with " frightened thoughts," even after the dream has been 
forced to represent my idea — that perhaps the children will 
attain what has been denied to the father — a fresh allusion to 
the strange novel in which the identity of a person is preserved 
through a series of generations covering two thousand years. 

VIII. In the context of another dream there is a similar 
expression of astonishment at what is experienced in the 
dream. This, however, is connected with a striking and skil- 
fully contrived attempt at explanation which might well be 
called a stroke of genius — so that I should have to analyse the 
whole dream merely for the sake of it, even if the dream did 
not possess two other features of interest. I am travelling 
during the night between the eighteenth and the nineteenth of 
July on the Southern Railway, and in my sleep I hear some- 
one call out : " Hollthurn, 10 minutes." I immediately think 
of Holothurian — of a museum of natural history — that here is a 
place where brave men have vainly resisted the domination of 
their overlord. Yes, the counter reformation in Austria ! As 
though it were a place in Styria or the Tyrol. Now I distinctly 
see a little museum in which the remains or the possessions of 
these men are preserved. I wish to get off, but I hesitate to do so. 



THE DREAM-WORK 361 

Women with fruit are standing on the platform ; they crouch on 
the floor, and in that position hold out their baskets in an inviting 
manner. I hesitate, in doubt whether we still have time, but we 
are still standing. I am suddenly in another compartment in 
which the leather and the seats are so narrow that one's bach 
directly touches the back rest* I am surprised at this, but I 
may have changed cars while asleep. Several people, among 
them an English brother and sister ; a row of books distinctly 
on a shelf on the wall. I see The Wealth of Nations, then 
Matter and Motion (by Maxwell) — the books are thick and bound 
in brown linen. The man asks his sister for a book by Schiller, 
and whether she has forgotten it. These are books which first 
seem mine, then seem to belong to the brother and sister. At this 
point I wish to join in the conversation in order to confirm and 

support what is being said . I awaken sweating all over my 

body, because all the windows are shut. The train stops at 
Marburg. 

While writing down the dream, a part of it occurs to me 
which my memory wished to omit. / say to the brother and 
sister about a certain work : "It is from . . ." but I correct 
myself: " It is by . . ." The man remarks to his sister: 
" He said it correctly. ;" 

The dream begins with the name of a station, which prob- 
ably must have partially awakened me. For this name, 
which was Marburg, I substituted JTollthurn. The fact that 
I heard Marburg when it was first called, or perhaps when it 
was called a second time, is proved by the mention in the 
dream of Schiller, who was born in Marburg, though not in 
the one in Styria.f Now this time, although I was travelling 
first-class, it was under very disagreeable circumstances. The 
train was overcrowded ; I had met a gentleman and lady in 
my compartment who seemed persons of quality, but who 
did not have the good breeding or who did not think it worth 

* This description is not intelligible even to myself, but I follow the 
principle of reproducing the dream in those words which occur to me 
while I am writing it down. The wording itself is a part of the dream 
representation. 

f Schiller was not born in one of the Marburgs, but in Marbach, as 
every graduate of a Gymnasium knows, and as I also knew. This again is 
one of those errors (cf. p. 165) which are included as substitutes for an 
intended deception at another place — an explanation of which I have 
attempted in the Psychopathologie des Alltagslebens). 



362 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

while to conceal their displeasure at my intrusion. My polite 
salutation was not answered, and although the man and the 
woman sat next each other (with their backs in the direction 
in which we were riding), the woman made haste to pre-empt 
the place opposite her and next the window with her umbrella ; 
the door was immediately closed and demonstrative remarks 
about the opening of windows were exchanged. Probably I 
was quickly recognised as a person hungry for fresh air. It 
was a hot night, and the air in the compartment, thus shut 
on all sides, was almost suffocating. My experience as a 
traveller leads me to believe that such inconsiderate, obtrusive 
conduct marks people who have only partly paid for their 
tickets, or not at all. When the conductor came, and I pre- 
sented my dearly bought ticket, the lady called out ungra- 
ciously, and as though threateningly : " My husband has a 
pass." She was a stately figure with sour features, in age 
not far from the time set for the decay of feminine beauty ; 
the man did not get a chance to say anything at all, and sat 
there motionless. I tried to sleep. In the dream I take 
terrible revenge on my disagreeable travelling companions ; 
no one would suspect what insults and humiliations are con- 
cealed behind the disjointed fragments of the first half of the 
dream. After this desire has been satisfied, the second wish, 
to exchange my compartment for another, makes itself evident. 
The dream makes changes of scene so often, and without rais- 
ing the least objection to such changes, that it would not have 
been in the least remarkable if I had immediately' replaced 
my travelling companions by more pleasant ones for my re- 
collection. But this was one of the cases where something 
or other objected to the change of scene and considered ex- 
planation of the change necessary. How did I suddenly get 
into another compartment ? I surely could not remember 
having changed cars. So there was only one explanation : 
/ must have left the carriage while asleep, a rare occurrence, 
examples for which, however, are furnished by the experience 
of the neuropathologist. We know of persons who under- 
take railroad journeys in a crepuscular state without betraying 
their abnormal condition by any sign, until some station on 
the journey they completely recover consciousness, and are 
then surprised at the gap in their memory. Thus, while I 



THE DREAM-WORK 363 

am still dreaming, I declare my own case to be such a one of 
" Automatisms ambulatoire." 

Analysis permits another solution. The attempt at ex- 
planation, which so astounds me if I am to attribute it to the 
dream activity, is not original, but is copied from the neurosis 
of one of my patients. I have already spoken on another 
page of a highly cultured and, in conduct, kind-hearted man, 
who began, shortly after the death of his parents, to accuse 
himself of murderous inclinations, and who suffered because 
of the precautionary measures he had to take to insure himself 
against these inclinations. At first walking along the street 
was made painful for him by the compulsion impelling him to 
demand an accounting of all the persons he met as to whither 
they had vanished ; if one of them suddenly withdrew from 
his pursuing glance, there remained a painful feeling and a 
thought of the possibility that he might have put the man out 
of the way. This compulsive idea concealed, among other 
things, a Cain-fancy, for " all men are brothers." Owing to 
the impossibility of accomplishing his task, he gave up taking 
walks and spent his life imprisoned within his four walls. But 
news of murderous acts which have been committed outside 
constantly reached his room through the papers, and his con- 
science in the form of a doubt kept accusing him of being the 
murderer. The certainty of not having left his dwelling for 
weeks protected him against these accusations for a time, 
until one day there dawned upon him the possibility that he 
might have left his house while in an unconscious condition, and 
might thus have committed the murder without knowing any- 
thing about it. From that time on he locked his house door, 
and handed the key over to his old housekeeper, and strictly 
forbade her to give it into his hands even if he demanded it. 

This, then, is the origin of the attempted explanation, 
that I may have changed carriages while in an unconscious 
condition — it has been transferred from the material of the 
dream thoughts to the dream in a finished state, and is obvi- 
ously intended to identify me with the person of that patient. 
My memory of him was awakened by an easy association. I 
had made my last night journey with this man a few weeks 
before. He was cured, and was escorting me into the country, 
to his relatives who were summoning me ; as we had a compart- 



364 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

ment to ourselves, we left all the windows open through the 
night, and, as long as I had remained awake, we had a delight- 
ful conversation. I knew that hostile impulses towards his 
father from the time of his childhood, in connection with 
sexual material, had been at the root of his illness. By 
identifying myself with him, I wanted to make an analogous 
confession to myself. The second scene of the dream really 
resolves itself into a wanton fancy to the effect that my two 
elderly travelling companions had acted so uncivilly towards 
me for the reason that my arrival prevented them from ex- 
changing love- tokens during the night as they had intended. 
This fancy, however, goes back to an early childhood scene 
in which, probably impelled by sexual inquisitiveness, I 
intruded upon the bedroom of my parents, and was driven 
from it by my father's emphatic command. 

I consider it superfluous to multiply further examples. 
All of them would confirm what we have learned from those 
which have been already cited, namely, that an act of judg- 
ment in the dream is nothing but the repetition of a prototype 
which it has in the dream thoughts. In most cases it is an 
inappropriate repetition introduced in an unfitting connection ; 
occasionally, however, as in our last example, it is so artfully 
disposed that it may give the impression of being an inde- 
pendent thought activity in the dream. At this point we 
might turn our attention to that psychic activity which 
indeed does not seem to co-operate regularly in the formation of 
dreams, but whose effort it is, wherever it does co-operate, 
to fuse together those dream elements that are incongruent 
on account of their origins in an uncontradictory and intel- 
ligible manner. We consider it best, however, first to take up 
the expressions of emotion which appear in the dream, and to 
compare them with the emotions which analysis reveals to 
us in the dream thoughts. 

(g) The Affects in the Dream. 

A profound remark of Strieker's 77 has called our attention 
to the fact that the expressions of emotion in the dream do 
not permit of being disposed of in the slighting manner in 
which we are accustomed to shake off the dream itself, after 



THE DREAM-WORK 365 

we have awakened. " If I am afraid of robbers in the dream, 
the robbers, to be sure, are imaginary, but the fear of them is 
real," and the same is true if I am glad in the dream. Accord- 
ing to the testimony of our feelings, the emotion experienced 
in the dream is in no way less valid than one of like intensity 
experienced in waking life, and the dream makes its claim to be 
taken up as a part of our real mental experiences, more ener- 
getically on account of its emotional content than on account 
of its ideal content. We do not succeed in accomplishing this 
separation in waking life, because we do not know how to 
estimate an emotion psychically except in connection with a 
presentation content. If in kind or in intensity an affect and an 
idea are incongruous, our waking judgment becomes confused. 

The fact that in dreams the presentation content does not 
entail the affective influence which we should expect as neces- 
sary in waking thought has always caused astonishment. 
Strümpell was of the opinion that ideas in the dream are 
stripped of their psychic values. But neither does the dream 
lack opposite instances, where the expression of intense affect 
appears in a content, which seems to offer no occasion for its 
development. I am in a horrible, dangerous, or disgusting 
situation in the dream, but I feel nothing of fear or aversion ; 
on the other hand, I am sometimes terrified at harmless things 
and glad at childish ones. 

This enigma of the dream disappears more suddenly and 
more completely than perhaps any other of the dream pro- 
blems, if we pass from the manifest to the latent content. 
We shall then no longer be concerned to explain it, for it will 
no longer exist. Analysis teaches us that presentation contents 
have undergone displacements and substitutions, while affects 
have remained unchanged. No wonder, then, that the pre- 
sentation content which has been altered by dream disfigure- 
ment no longer fits the affect that has remained intact ; but 
there is no cause for wonder either after analysis has put the 
correct content in its former place. 

In a psychic complex which has been subjected to the in- 
fluence of the resisting censor the affects are the unyielding 
constituent, which alone is capable of guiding us to a correct 
supplementation. This state of affairs is revealed in psycho- 
neuroses even more distinctly than in the dream. Here the 



366 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

affect is always in the right, at least as far as its quality goes ; 
its intensity may even be increased by means of a displace- 
ment of neurotic attention. If a hysteric is surprised that 
he is so very afraid of a trifle, or if the patient with compulsive 
ideas is astonished that he develops such painful self-reproach 
out of a nonentity, both of them err in that they regard the 
presentation content — the trifle or the nonentity — as the essen- 
tial thing, and they defend themselves in vain because they 
make this presentation content the starting point in their 
thought. Psychoanalysis, however, shows them the right way 
by recognising that, on the contrary, the affect is justified, 
and by searching for the presentation which belongs to it 
and which has been suppressed by means of replacement. 
The assumption is here made that the development of affect 
and the presentation content do not constitute such an in- 
dissoluble organic union as we are accustomed to think, but 
that the two parts may be, so to speak, soldered together in 
such a way that they may be detached from one another by 
means of analysis. Dream interpretation shows that this 
is actually the case. 

I give first an example in which analysis explains the ap- 
parent absence of affect in a presentation content which ought 
to force a development of emotion. 

I. The dreamer sees three lions in a desert, one of which is 
laughing, but she is not afraid of them. Then, however, she must 
have fled from them, for she is trying to climb a tree, but she finds 
that her cousin, who is a teacher of French, is already up in the 
tree, &c. 

The analysis gives us the following material for this dream: 
A sentence in the dreamer's English lesson had become the 
indifferent occasion for it : " The lion's greatest beauty is his 
mane." Her father wore a beard which surrounded his face 
like a mane. The name of her English teacher was Miss 
Lyons. An acquaintance of hers had sent her the ballads of 
Loewe (German, Loewe — lion). These, then, are the three 
lions ; why should she have been afraid of them ? She has 
read a story in which a negro who has incited his fellows to 
revolt is hunted with bloodhounds and climbs a tree to save 
himself. Then follow fragments in wanton mood, like the 
following. Directions for catching lions from Die Fliegende 



THE DREAM-WORK 367 

Blaetter : " Take a desert and strain it ; the lions will re- 
main." Also a very amusing, but not very proper anecdote 
about an official who is asked why he does not take greater 
pains to win the favour of his superior officer, and who answers 
that he has been trying to insinuate himself, but that the man 
ahead of him is already up. The whole matter becomes in- 
telligible as soon as one learns that on the day of the dream 
the lady had received a visit from her husband's superior. He 
was very polite to her, kissed her hand, and she was not afraid 
of him at all, although he is a " big bug " (German — Grosses 
Tier= " big animal ") and plays the part of a " social lion " 
in the capital of her country. This lion is, therefore, like the 
lion in the Midsummer Night's Dream, who unmasks as Snug, 
the joiner, and of such stuff are all dream lions made when one 
is not afraid. 

II. As my second example, I cite the dream of the girl who 
saw her sister's little son lying dead in a coffin, but who, I may 
now add, felt no pain or sorrow thereat. We know from 
analysis why not. The dream only concealed her wish to 
see the man she loved again ; the affect must be attuned to 
the wish, and not to its concealment. There was no occasion 
for sorrow at all. 

In a number of dreams the emotion at least remains con- 
nected with that presentation content which has replaced the 
one really belonging to it. In others the breaking up of the 
complex is carried further. The affect seems to be entirely 
separated from the idea belonging to it, and finds a place 
somewhere else in the dream where it fits into the new ar- 
rangement of the dream elements. This is similar to what 
we have learned of acts of judgment of the dream. If there 
is a significant inference in the dream thoughts, the dream 
also contains one ; but in the dream the inference may be 
shifted to entirely different material. Not infrequently this 
shifting takes place according to the principle of antithesis. 

I illustrate the latter possibility by the following dream, 
which I have subjected to the most exhaustive analysis. 

III. A castle by the sea ; afterwards it lies not directly on the 
sea, but on a narrow canal that leads to the sea. A certain Mr. 
P. is the governor of it. I stand with him in a large salon with 
three windows, in front of which rise the 'projections of a wall, 



368 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

like battlements of a fort. I belong to the garrison, perhaps as 
a volunteer marine officer. We fear the arrival of hostile war- 
ships, for we are in a state of war. Mr. P. has the intention of 
leaving ; he gives me instructions as to what must be done in case 
the dreaded event happens. His sich wife is in the threatened 
castle with her children. As soon as the bombardment begins the 
large hall should be cleared. He breathes heavily, and tries to get 
aivay ; I hold him back, and ask him in what way I should send 
him news in case of need. He says something else, and then all 
at once falls over dead. I have probably taxed him unnecessarily 
with my questions. After his death, which makes no further im- 
pression upon me, I think whether the widow is to remain in the 
castle, whether I should give notice of the death to the commander- 
in-chief, and whether I should take over the direction of the castle 
as the next in command. I now stand at the window, and muster 
the ships as they pass by ; they are merchantmen that dart past 
upon the dark water, several of them with more than one smoke- 
stack, others with bulging decks (that are quite similar to the 
railway stations in the preliminary dream which has not been 
told). Then my brother stands next to me, and both of us look 
out of the window on to the canal. At the sight of a ship we are 
frightened, and call out : " Here comes the warship ! " It turns 
out, however, that it is only the same ships which I have already 
known that are returning. Now comes a little ship, strangely cut 
off, so that it ends in the middle of its breadth ; curious things like 
cups or salt-cellars are seen on the deck. We call as though with 
one voice : " That is the breakfast-ship." 

The rapid motion of the ships, the deep blue of the water, 
the brown smoke of the funnels, all this together makes a 
highly tense, sombre impression. 

The localities in this dream are put together from several 
journeys to the Adriatic Sea (Miramare, Duino, Venice, 
Aquileja). A short but enjoyable Easter trip to Aquileja 
with my brother, a few weeks before the dream, was still fresh 
in my memory. Besides, the naval war between America 
and Spain, and the worry connected with it about my relatives 
living in America, play a part. Manifestations of emotion 
appear at two places in this dream. In one place an emotion 
that would be expected is lacking — it is expressly emphasized 
that the death of the governor makes no impression upon me ; 



THE DREAM-WORK 369 

at another point, where I see the warships I am frightened, 
and experience all the sensations of fright while I sleep. The 
distribution of affects in this well-constructed dream has been 
made in such a way that every obvious contradiction is 
avoided. For there is no reason why I should be frightened 
at the governor's death, and it is fitting that as the commander 
of the castle I should be alarmed by the sight of the warship. 
Now analysis shows that Mr. P. is nothing but a substitute for 
my own Ego (in the dream I am his substitute). I am the 
governor who suddenly dies. The dream thoughts deal with 
the future of those dear to me after my premature death. 
No other disagreeable thought is to be found among the 
dream thoughts. The fright which is attached to the sight 
of the warship must be transferred from it to this disagree- 
able thought. Inversely, the analysis shows that the region 
of the dream thoughts from which the warship comes is filled 
with most joyous reminiscences. It was at Venice a year 
before, one charmingly beautiful day, that we stood at the 
windows of our room on the Riva Schiavoni and looked upon 
the blue lagoon, in which more activity could be seen that day 
than usually. English ships were being expected, they were 
to be festively received ; and suddenly my wife called out, 
happy as a child : " There come the English warships ! " In 
the dream I am frightened at the very same words ; we see 
again that speeches in the dream originate from speeches in 
life. I shall soon show that even the element " English " in 
this speech has not been lost for the dream activity. I thus 
convert joy into fright on the way from the dream thoughts 
to the dream content, and I need only intimate that by means 
of this very transformation I give expression to a part of the 
latent dream content. The example shows, however, that the 
dream activity is at liberty to detach the occasion for an affect 
from its context in the dream thoughts, and to insert it at 
any other place it chooses in the dream content. 

I seize the opportunity which is incidentally offered, of 
subjecting to closer analysis the " breakfast ship," whose 
appearance in the dream so nonsensically concludes a situation 
that has been rationally adhered to. If I take a closer view 
of this object in the dream, I am now struck by the fact that it 
was black, and that on account of its being cut off at its greatest 

2 A 



370 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

breadth it closely resembled, at the end where it was cut off, 
an object which had aroused our interest in the museums of 
the Etruscan cities. This object was a rectangular cup of 
black clay with two handles, upon which stood things like coffee 
cups, or tea cups, very similar to our modern breakfast table 
service. Upon inquiring, we learned that this was the toilet 
set of an Etruscan lady, with little boxes for rouge and powder ; 
and we said jokingly to each other that it would not be a bad 
idea to take a thing like that home to the lady of the house. 
The dream object, therefore, signifies " black toilet " (German, 
toilette — dress) — mourning — and has direct reference to a 
death. The other end of the dream object reminds us of the 
" boat " (German, Nachen), from the root ve^ys, as a philo- 
logical friend has told me, upon which corpses were laid in 
prehistoric times and were left to be buried by the sea. With 
this circumstance is connected the reason for the return of 
the ships in the dream. 

" Quietly the old man on his rescued boat drifts into the 
harbour." 

It is the return voyage after the shipwreck (German, schiff- 
bruch ; ship-breaking, i.e. shipwreck), the breakfast-ship looks 
as though it were broken off in the middle. But whence comes 
the name " breakfast "-ship ? Here is where the " English " 
comes in, which we have left over from the warships. Break- 
fast — a breaking of the fast. Breaking again belongs to 
ship-wreck (Schiff bruch), and fasting is connected with the 
mourning dress. 

The only thing about this breakfast-ship, which has been 
newly created by the dream, is its name. The thing has 
existed in reality, and recalls to me the merriest hours of my 
last journey. As we distrusted the fare in Aquileja, we took 
some food with us from Goerz, and bought a bottle of excellent 
Istrian wine in Aquileja, and while the little mail-steamer slowly 
travelled through the Canal delleMee and into the lonely stretch 
of lagoon towards Grado, we took our breakfast on deck — we 
were the only passengers — and it tasted to us as few break- 
fasts have ever tasted. This, then, was the " breakfast- ship" 
and it is behind this very recollection of great enjoyment that 
the dream hides the saddest thoughts about an unknown and 
ominous future. 



THE DREAM-WORK 371 

The detachment of emotions from the groups of ideas 
which have been responsible for their development is the most 
striking thing that happens to them in the course of dream 
formation, but it is neither the only nor even the most essential 
change which they undergo on the way from the dream 
thoughts to the manifest dream. If the affects in the dream 
thoughts are compared with those in the dream, it at once 
becomes clear that wherever there is an emotion in the dream, 
this is also to be found in the dream thoughts ; the converse, 
however, is not true. In general, the dream is less rich in 
affects than the psychic material from which it is elaborated. 
As soon as I have reconstructed the dream thoughts I see that 
the most intense psychic impulses are regularly striving in 
them for self-assertion, usually in conflict with others that 
are sharply opposed to them. If I turn back to the dream, 
I often find it colourless and without any of the more intense 
strains of feeling. Not only the content, but also the affec- 
tive tone of my thoughts has been brought by the dream 
activity to the level of the indifferent. I might say that a 
supjyression of the affects has taken place. Take, for example, 
the dream of the botanical monograph. It answers to a pas- 
sionate plea for my freedom to act as I am acting and to arrange 
my life as seems right to me and to me alone. The dream 
which results from it sounds indifferent ; I have written a 
monograph ; it is lying before me ; it is fitted with coloured 
plates, and dried plants are to be found with each copy. It 
is like the peacefulness of a battlefield ; there is no trace left 
of the tumult of battle. 

It may also turn out differently — vivid affective expressions 
may make their appearance in the dream ; but we shall first 
dwell upon the unquestionable fact that many dreams appear 
indifferent, while it is never possible to go deeply into the dream 
thoughts without deep emotion. 

A complete theoretical explanation of this suppression of 
emotions in the course of the dream activity cannot be given 
here ; it would require a most careful investigation of the 
theory of the emotions and of the mechanism of suppression. 
I shall find a place here for two thoughts only. I am forced 
— on other grounds — to conceive the development of affects 
as a centrifugal process directed towards the interior of the 



372 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

body, analogous to the processes of motor and secretory 
innervation. Just as in the sleeping condition the omission 
of motor impulses towards the outside world seems to be 
suspended, so a centrifugal excitement of emotions through 
unconscious thought may be made more difficult during sleep. 
Thus the affective impulses aroused during the discharge of 
the dream thoughts would themselves be weak excitements, 
and therefore those getting into the dream would not be 
stronger. According to this line of argument the " suppres- 
sion of the affects " would not be a result of the dream activity 
at all, but a result of the sleeping condition. This may be so, 
but this cannot possibly be all. We must also remember that 
all the more complex dreams have shown themselves to be a 
compromised result from the conflict of psychic forces. On 
the one hand, the thoughts that constitute the wish must 
fight the opposition of a censorship ; on the other hand, we 
have often seen how, even in unconscious thinking, each train 
of thought is harnessed to its contradictory opposite. Since 
all of these trains of thought are capable of emotion, we shall 
hardly make a mistake, broadly speaking, if we regard the 
suppression of emotion as the result of the restraint which the 
contrasts impose upon one another and which the censor 
imposes upon the tendencies which it has suppressed. The 
restraint of affects would accordingly he the second result of the 
dream censor as the disfigurement of the dream was the first. 

I shall insert an example of a dream in which the indif- 
ferent affective tone of the dream content may be explained by 
a contrast in the dream thoughts. I have the following short 
dream to relate, which every reader will read with disgust : 

IV. A bit of rising ground, and on it something like a toilet 
in the open ; a very long bench, at the end of which is a large 
toilet aperture. All of the back edge is thickly covered with little 
heaps of excrement of all sizes and degrees of freshness. A shrub 
behind the bench. I urinate upon the bench ; a long stream of 
urine rinses everything clean, the patches of excrement easily come 
off and fall into the opening. It seems as though something 
remained at the end nevertheless. 

Why did I experience no disgust in this dream ? 

Because, as the analysis shows, the most pleasant and satis- 
fying thoughts have co-operated in the formation of this dream. 



THE DREAM-WORK 373 

Upon analysing it I immediately think of the Augean stables 
cleansed by Hercules. I am this Hercules. The rising ground 
and the shrub belong to Aussee, where my children are now 
staying. I have discovered the infantile etiology of the neu- 
roses and have thus guarded my own children from becoming 
ill. The bench (omitting the aperture, of course) is the faith- 
ful copy of a piece of furniture which an affectionate female 
patient has made me a present of. This recalls how my patients 
honour me. Even the museum of human excrement is sus- 
ceptible of less disagreeable interpretation. However much I 
am disgusted with it, it is a souvenir of the beautiful land of 
Italy, where in little cities, as everyone knows, water-closets 
are not equipped in any other way. The stream of urine that 
washes everything clean is an unmistakable allusion to great- 
ness. It is in this manner that Gulliver extinguishes the 
great fire in Lilliput ; to be sure, he thereby incurs the dis- 
pleasure of the tiniest of queens. In this way, too, Gargantua, 
the superman in Master Rabelais, takes vengeance upon the 
Parisians, straddling Notre Dame and training his stream 
of urine upon the city. Only yesterday I was turning over 
the leaves of Garnier's illustrations of Rabelais before I went 
to bed. And, strangely enough, this is another proof that I 
am the superman ! The platform of Notre Dame was my 
favourite nook in Paris ; every free afternoon I was accus- 
tomed to go up into the towers of the church and climb about 
among the monsters and devil-masks there. The circum- 
stances that all the excrement vanishes so rapidly before 
the stream correspond to the motto : Affiavit et dissipati sunt, 
which I shall some day make the title of a chapter on the 
therapeutics of hysteria. 

And now as to the occasion giving rise to the dream. It 
had been a hot afternoon in summer ; in the evening I had 
given a lecture on the relation between hysteria and the per- 
versions, and everything which I had to say displeased me 
thoroughly, appeared to me stripped of all value. I was 
tired, found no trace of pleasure in my difficult task, and 
longed to get away from this rummaging in human filth, to 
see my children and then the beauties of Italy. In this mood 
I went from the auditorium to a cafe, to find some modest 
refreshment in the open air, for my appetite had left me. 



374 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

But one of my audience went with me ; he begged for per- 
mission to sit with me while I drank my coffee and gulped 
down my roll, and began to say flattering things to me. He 
told me how much he had learned from me, and that he 
now looked at everything through different eyes, that I had 
cleansed the Augean stables, i.e. the theory of the neuroses, 
of its errors and prejudices — in short, that I was a very great 
man. My mood was ill-suited to his song of praise ; I struggled 
with disgust, and went home earlier in order to extricate myself. 
Before I went to sleep I turned over the leaves of Rabelais, 
and read a short story by C. F. Meyer entitled Die Leiden 
eines Knaben (The Hardships of a Boy). 

The dream had been drawn from these materials, and the 
novel by Meyer added the recollection of childish scenes 
(cf. the dream about Count Thun, last scene). The mood of the 
day, characterised by disgust and annoyance, is continued in 
the dream in the sense that it is permitted to furnish nearly 
the entire material for the dream content. But during the 
night the opposite mood of vigorous and even exaggerated 
self-assertion was awakened, and dissipated the earlier mood. 
The dream had to take such a form as to accommodate the 
expression of self-depreciation and exaggerated self-assertion 
in the same material. This compromise formation resulted 
in an ambiguous dream content, but likewise in an indifferent 
strain of feeling owing to the restraint of the contrasts upon 
each other. 

According to the theory of wish-fulfilment this dream 
could not have happened had not the suppressed, but at the 
same time pleasurable, train of thought concerning personal 
aggrandisement been coupled with the opposing thoughts of 
disgust. For disagreeable things are not intended to be re- 
presented by the dream ; painful thoughts that have occurred 
during the day can force their way into the dream only if they 
lend a cloak to the wish-fulfilment. The dream activity can 
dispose of the affects in the dream thoughts in still another 
way, besides admitting them or reducing them to zero. It 
can change them into their opposite. We have already be- 
come acquainted with the rule of interpretation that every 
element of the dream may be interpreted by its opposite, as 
well as by itself. One can never tell at the outset whether to 



THE DREAM-WORK 375 

set down the one or the other ; only the connection can decide 
this point. A suspicion of this state of affairs has evidently 
got into popular consciousness ; dream books very often pro- 
ceed according to the principle of contraries in their interpre- 
tation. Such transformation into opposites is made possible 
by the intimate concatenation of associations, which in our 
thoughts finds the idea of a thing in that of its opposite. Like 
every other displacement this serves the purposes of the censor, 
but it is also often the work of the wish-fulfilment, for wish- 
fulfilment consists precisely in this substitution of an un- 
welcome thing by its opposite. The emotions of the dream 
thoughts may appear in the dream transformed into their 
opposites just as well as the ideas, and it is probable that this 
inversion of emotions is usually brought about by the dream 
censor. The suppression and inversion of affects are useful 
in social life, as the current analogy for the dream censor has 
shown us — above all, for purposes of dissimulation. If I 
converse with a person to whom I must show consideration 
while I am saying unpleasant things to him, it is almost more 
important that I should conceal the expression of my emotion 
from him, than that I modify the wording of my thoughts. 
If I speak to him in polite words, but accompany them by 
looks or gestures of hatred and disdain, the effect which I 
produce upon this person is not very different from what it 
would have been if I had recklessly thrown my contempt into 
his face. Above all, then, the censor bids me suppress my 
emotions, and if I am master of the art of dissimulation, I 
can hypocritically show the opposite emotion — smiling where 
I should like to be angry, and pretending affection where I 
should like to destroy. 

We already know of an excellent example of such an in- 
version of emotion for the purposes of the dream censor. In 
the dream about my uncle's beard I feel great affection for my 
friend R., at the same time that, and because, the dream 
thoughts berate him as a simpleton. We have drawn our 
first proof for the existence of the censor from this example 
of the inversion of emotions. Nor is it necessary here to 
assume that the dream activity creates a counter emotion of 
this kind out of nothing ; it usually finds it lying ready in the 
material of the dream thoughts, and intensifies it solely with 



376 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

the psychic force of the resisting impulse until a point is 
reached where the emotion can be won over for the formation 
of the dream. In the dream of my uncle, just mentioned, the 
affectionate counter emotion has probably originated from 
an infantile source (as the continuation of the dream would 
suggest), for the relation between uncle and nephew has 
become the source of all my friendships and hatreds, owing to 
the peculiar nature of my childish experiences (cf. analysis 
on p. 334). 

There is a class of dreams deserving the designation " hypo- 
critical," which puts the theory of wish-fulfilment to a severe 
test. My attention was called to them when Mrs. Dr. M. 
Hilferding brought up for discussion in the Vienna Psycho- 
analytic Society the dream reported by Rosegger, which is 
reprinted below. 

In Waldheimat, vol. xi., Rosegger writes as follows in his 
story, Fremd gemacht, p. 303 : 

" I have usually enjoyed healthful sleep, but I have lost the 
rest of many a night. With my modest existence as a student 
and literary man, I have for long years dragged along with me 
the shadow of a veritable tailor's life, like a ghost from which 
I could not become separated. I cannot say that I have 
occupied myself so often and so vividly with thoughts of my 
past during the day. An assailer of heaven and earth arising 
from the skin of the Philistine has other things to think about. 
Nor did I, as a dashing young fellow, think about my noc- 
turnal dreams ; only later, when I got into the habit of think- 
ing about everything or when the Philistine within me again 
asserted itself, it struck me that whenever I dreamed I was 
always the journeyman tailor, and was always working in 
my master's shop for long hours without any remuneration. 
As I sat there and sewed and pressed I was quite aware that I 
no longer belonged there, and that as a burgess of a town I 
had other things to attend to ; but I was for ever having vaca- 
tions, and going out into the country, and it was then that I 
sat near my boss and assisted him. I often felt badly, and 
regretted the loss of time which I might spend for better and 
more useful purposes. If something did not come up to the 
measure and cut exactly, I had to submit to a reproach from 



THE DREAM-WORK 377 

the boss. Often, as I sat with my back bent in the dingy 
shop, I decided to give notice that I was going to quit. 
On one occasion I actually did so, but the boss took no 
notice of it, and the next time I was again sitting near him 
and sewing. 

" How happy I was when 1 woke up after such weary hours ! 
And I then resolved that, if this dream came intruding again, 
I would throw it off with energy and would cry aloud : ' It 
is only a delusion, I am in bed, and I want to sleep.' . . . 
And the next night I would be sitting in the tailor shop 
again. 

" Thus years passed with dismal regularity. While the 
boss and I were working at Alpelhofer's, at the house of the 
peasant where I began my apprenticeship, it happened that 
he was particularly dissatisfied with my work. ' I should 
like to know where in the world your thoughts are ? ' cried he, 
and looked at me gloomily, I thought the most sensible thing 
for me to do would be to get up and explain to the boss that I 
was with him only as a favour, and then leave. But I did not 
do this. I submitted, however, when the boss engaged an 
apprentice, and ordered me to make room for him on the bench. 
I moved into the corner, and kept on sewing. On the same 
day another tailor was engaged ; he was bigoted, as he was a 
Czech who had worked for us nineteen years before, and then 
had fallen into the lake on his way home from the public- 
house. When he tried to sit down there was no room for him. 
I looked at the boss inquiringly, and he said to me, ' You 
have no talent for the tailoring business ; you may go ; you 
are free.' My fright on that occasion was so overpowering 
that I awoke. 

" The morning gray glimmered through the clear window 
of my beloved home. Objects of art surrounded me ; in 
the tasteful bookcase stood the eternal Homer, the gigantic 
Dante, the incomparable Shakespeare, the glorious Goethe — all 
shining and immortal. From the adjoining room resounded 
the clear little voices of the children, who were waking and 
prattling with their mother. I felt as if I had found again 
that idyllically sweet, that peaceful, poetical, and spiritual life 
which I have so often and so deeply conceived as the contem- 
plative fortune of mankind. And still I was vexed that I 



378 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

had not given my boss notice first, instead of allowing him to 
discharge me. 

" And how remarkable it is ; after the night when the 
boss ' discharged me ' I enjoyed rest ; I no longer dreamed 
of my tailoring — of this experience which lay in the remote 
past, which in its simplicity was really happy, and which, 
nevertheless, threw a long shadow over the later years of 
my life." 

I. In this dream, the series of the poet who, in his younger 
years, has been a journeyman tailor, it is hard to recognise 
the domination of the wish-fulfilment. All the delightful 
things occurred during the waking state, while the dream 
seemed to drag along the ghostlike shadow of an unhappy 
existence which had been long forgotten. My own dreams of 
a similar nature have put me in a position to give some ex- 
planation for such dreams. As a young doctor I for a long 
time worked in the chemical institute without being able to 
accomplish anything in that exacting science, and I therefore 
never think in my waking state about this unfruitful episode 
in my life, of which I am really ashamed. On the other hand, 
it has become a recurring dream with me that I am working in 
the laboratory, making analyses, and having experiences there, 
&c. ; like the examination dreams, these dreams are disagree- 
able, and they are never very distinct. During the analysis 
of one of these dreams my attention was directed to the word 
" analysis," which gave me the key to an understanding of 
these dreams. For I had since become an " analyst." I 
make analyses which are highly praised — to be sure, psycho- 
analyses. I then understood that when I grew proud of these 
analyses of the waking state, and wanted to boast how much 
I had accomplished thereby, the dream would hold up to me 
at night those other unsuccessful analyses of which I had 
no reason to be proud ; they are the punitive dreams of the 
upstart, like those of the tailor who became a celebrated poet. 
But how is it possible for the dream to place itself at the service 
of self-criticism in its conflict with parvenu -pride, and to take 
as its content a rational warning instead of the fulfilment of 
a prohibitive wish ? I have already mentioned that the 
answer to this question entails many difficulties. We may 



THE DREAM-WORK 379 

conclude that the foundation of the dream was at first formed 
by a phantasy of overweening ambition, but that only its 
suppression and its abashment reached the dream content 
in its stead. One should remember that there are masochistic 
tendencies in the psychic life to which such an inversion 
might be attributed. But a more thorough investigation of 
the individual dreams allows the recognition of still another 
element. In an indistinct subordinate portion of one of my 
laboratory dreams, I was just at the age which placed me in the 
most gloomy and most unsuccessful year of my professional 
career ; I still had no position and no means of support, when 
I suddenly found that I had the choice of many women whom 
I could marry ! I was, therefore, young again, and, what is 
more, she was young again — the woman who has shared with 
me all these hard years. In this way one of the wishes which 
constantly frets the heart of the ageing man was revealed as 
the unconscious dream inciter. The struggle raging in the 
other psychic strata between vanity and self-criticism has 
certainly determined the dream content, but the more deeply- 
rooted wish of youth has alone made it possible as a dream. 
One may say to himself even in the waking state : To be sure 
it is very nice now, and times were once very hard ; but it 
was nice, too, even then, you were still so young. 

In considering dreams reported by a poet one may often 
assume that he has excluded from the report those details 
which he perceived as disturbing and which he considered 
unessential. His dreams, then, give us a riddle which could 
be readily solved if we had an exact reproduction of the dream 
content. 

O. Rank has called my attention to the fact that in Grimm's 
fairy tale of the valiant little tailor, or " Seven at one Stroke," 
a very similar dream of an upstart is related. The tailor, 
who became the hero and married the king's daughter, 
dreamed one night while with the princess, his wife, about his 
trade ; the latter, becoming suspicious, ordered armed guards 
for the following night, who should listen to what was spoken 
in the dream, and who should do away with the dreamer. 
But the little tailor was warned, and knew enough to correct 
his dream. 

The complex of processes — of suspension, subtraction, 



380 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

and inversion — through which the affects of the dream 
thoughts finally become those of the dream, may well be 
observed in the suitable synthesis of completely analysed 
dreams. I shall here treat a few cases of emotional excitement 
in the dream which furnish examples of some of the cases 
discussed. 

In the dream about the odd task which the elder Bruecke 
gives me to perform — of preparing my own pelvis — the 
appropriate horror is absent in the dream itself. Now this is a 
wish-fulfilment in various senses. Preparation signifies self- 
analysis, which I accomplish, as it were, by publishing my 
book on dreams, and which has been so disagreeable to me that 
I have already postponed printing the finished manuscript 
for more than a year. The wish is now actuated that I may 
disregard this feeling of opposition, and for that reason I feel 
no horror (Grauen, which also means to grow grey) in the dream. 
I should also like to escape the horror — in the other (German) 
sense — of growing grey ; for I am already growing grey fast, 
and the grey in my hair warns me withal to hold back no 
longer. For we know that at the end of the dream the thought 
secures expression in that I should have to leave my children 
to get to the goal of their difficult journey. 

In the two dreams that shift the expression of satisfaction 
to the moments immediately after awakening, this satisfac- 
tion is in the one case motivated by the expectation that I 
am now going to learn what is meant by " I have already 
dreamed of it," and refers in reality to the birth of my first 
child, and in the other case it is motivated by the conviction 
that " that which has been announced by a sign " is now going 
to happen, and the latter satisfaction is the same which I 
felt at the arrival of my second son. Here the same emotions 
that dominated in the dream thoughts have remained in the 
dream, but the process is probably not so simple as this in 
every dream. If the two analyses are examined a little, it 
will be seen that this satisfaction which does not succumb to 
the censor receives an addition from a source which must fear 
the censor ; and the emotion drawn from this source would 
certainly arouse opposition if it did not cloak itself in a similar 
emotion of satisfaction that is willingly admitted, if it did 
not, as it were, sneak in behind the other. Unfortunately, I am 



THE DREAM-WORK 381 

unable to show this in the case of the actual dream specimen, 
but an example from another province will make my meaning 
intelligible. I construct the following case : Let there be a 
person near me whom I hate so that a strong feeling arises 
in me that I should be glad if something were to happen to 
him. But the moral part of my nature does not yield to this 
sentiment ; I do not dare to express this ill-wish, and when 
something happens to him which he does not deserve, I suppress 
my satisfaction at it, and force myself to expressions and 
thoughts of regret. Everyone will have found himself in 
such a position. But now let it happen that the hated person 
draws upon himself a well-deserved misfortune by some fault ; 
now I may give free rein to my satisfaction that he has been 
visited by a just punishment, and I express opinion in the 
matter which coincides with that of many other people who 
are impartial. But I can see that my satisfaction turns out 
to be more intense than that of the others, for it has received 
an addition from another source — from my hatred, which has 
hitherto been prevented by the inner censor from releasing 
an emotion, but which is no longer prevented from doing so 
under the altered circumstances. This case is generally typi- 
cal of society, where persons who have aroused antipathy or are 
adherents of an unpopular minority incur guilt. Their punish- 
ment does not correspond to their transgression but to their 
transgression plus the ill-will directed against them that has 
hitherto been ineffective. Those who execute the punish- 
ment doubtless commit an injustice, but they are prevented 
from becoming aware of it by the satisfaction arising from 
the release within themselves of a suppression of long standing. 
In such cases the emotion is justified according to its quality, 
but not according to its quantity ; and the self-criticism that 
has been appeased as to the one point is only too ready to 
neglect examination of the second point. Once you have 
opened the doors, more people get through than you originally 
intended to admit. 

The striking feature of the neurotic character, that in- 
citements capable of producing emotion bring about a result 
that is qualitatively justified but is quantitatively excessive, 
is to be explained in this manner, in so far as it admits of a 
psychological explanation at all. The excess is due to sources 



382 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

of emotion which have remained unconscious and have hitherto 
been suppressed, which can establish in the associations a 
connection with the actual incitement, and which can thus 
find release for its emotions through the vent which the un- 
objectionable and admitted source of emotion opens. Our 
attention is thus called to the fact that we may not consider 
the relation of mutual restraint as obtaining exclusively 
between the suppressed and the suppressing psychic judg- 
ment. The cases in which the two judgments bring about a 
pathological emotion by co-operation and mutual strength- 
ening deserve just as much attention. The reader is requested 
to apply these hints regarding the psychic mechanism for the 
purpose of understanding the expressions of emotion in the 
dream. A satisfaction which makes its appearance in the 
dream, and which may readily be found at its proper place 
in the dream thoughts, may not always be fully explained 
by means of this reference. As a rule it will be necessary to 
search for a second source in the dream thoughts, upon which 
the pressure of the censor is exerted, and which under the pres- 
sure would have resulted not in satisfaction, but in the opposite 
emotion — which, however, is enabled by the presence of the 
first source to free its satisfaction affect from suppression and 
to reinforce the satisfaction springing from the other source. 
Hence emotions in the dream appear as though formed 
by the confluence of several tributaries, and as though 
over-determined in reference to the material of the dream 
thoughts ; sources of affect which can furnish the same affect 
join each other in the dream activity in order to produce it* 

Some insight into these tangled relations is gained from 
analysis of the admirable dream in which " Non vixit " con- 
stitutes the central point (cf p. 333). The expressions of emo- 
tion in this dream, which are of different qualities, are forced 
together at two points in the manifest content. Hostile and 
painful feelings (in the dream itself we have the phrase, " seized 
by strange emotions ") overlap at the point where I destroy 
my antagonistic friend with the two words. At the end of 
the dream I am greatly pleased, and am quite ready to believe 
in a possibility which I recognise as absurd when I am awake, 

* As analogy to this, T have sinco explained the extraordinary effect of 
pleasure produced by " tendency " wit. 



THE DREAM-WORK 383 

namely, that there are revenants who can be put out of the way 
by a mere wish. 

I have not yet mentioned the occasion for this dream. It 
is an essential one, and goes a long way towards explaining it. 
I had received the news from my friend in Berlin (whom I 
have designated as F.) that he is about to undergo an opera- 
tion and that relatives of his living in Vienna would give me 
information about his condition. The first few messages after 
the operation were not reassuring, and caused me anxiety. I 
should have liked best to go to him myself, but at that time I 
was affected with a painful disease which made every move- 
ment a torture for me. I learn from the dream thoughts that 
I feared for the life of my dear friend. I knew that his 
only sister, with whom I had not been acquainted, had died 
early after the shortest possible illness. (In the dream F. tells 
about his sister, and says : "In three-quarters of an hour she 
was dead") I must have imagined that his own constitution 
was not much stronger, and that I should soon be travelling, 
in spite of my health, in answer to far worse news — and that 
I should arrive too late, for which I should reproach myself for 
ever.* This reproach about arriving too late has become the 
central point of the dream, but has been represented in a scene 
in which the honoured teacher of my student years — Bruecke — 
reproaches me for the same thing with a terrible look from his 
blue eyes. The cause of this deviation from the scene will 
soon be clear ; the dream cannot reproduce the scene itself 
in the manner in which it occurred to me. To be sure, it leaves 
the blue eyes to the other man, but it gives me the part of 
the annihilator, an inversion which is obviously the result of 
the wish-fulfilment. My concern for the life of my friend, my 
self-reproach for not having gone to him, my shame (he had 
repeatedly come to me in Vienna), my desire to consider myself 
excused on account of my illness — all of this makes up a 
tempest of feeling which is distinctly felt in sleep, and which 
raged in every part of the dream thoughts. 

But there was another thing about the occasion for the 

* It is this fancy from the unconscious dream thoughts which peremp- 
torily demands non vivit instead of non vixit. " You have come too late, he 
is no longer alive." The fact that the manifest situation also tends 
towards " non vivit " has been mentioned on page 334. 



384 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

dream which had quite the opposite effect. With the un- 
favourable news during the first days of the operation, I also 
received the injunction to speak to no one about the whole 
affair, which hurt my feelings, for it betrayed an unnecessary 
distrust of my discretion. I knew, of course, that this request 
did not proceed from my friend, but that it was due to clumsi- 
ness or excessive timidity on the part of the messenger, but 
the concealed reproach made me feel very badly because it 
was not altogether unjustified. Only reproaches which " have 
something in them " have power to irritate, as everyone knows. 
For long before, in the case of two persons who were friendly 
to each other and who were willing to honour me with their 
friendship, I had quite needlessly tattled what the one had 
said about the other ; to be sure this incident had nothing 
to do with the affairs of my friend P. Nor have I forgotten 
the reproaches which I had to listen to at that time. One 
of the two friends between whom I was the trouble-maker 
was Professor Fleischl ; the other one I may name Joseph, a 
name which was also borne by my friend and antagonist P., 
who appears in the dream. 

Two dream elements, first inconspicuously, and secondly 
the question of Fl. as to how much of his affairs I have mentioned 
to P., give evidence of the reproach that I am incapable of 
keeping anything to myself. But it is the admixture of these 
recollections which transposes the reproach for arriving too 
late from the present to the time when I was living in Bruecke's 
laboratory ; and by replacing the second person in the annihi- 
lation scene of the dream by a Joseph I succeed in representing 
not only the first reproach that I arrive too late, but also a 
second reproach, which is more rigorously suppressed, that I 
keep no secrets. The condensing and replacing activity of 
this dream, as well as the motives for it, are now obvious. 

My anger at the injunction not to give anything away, 
originally quite insignificant, receives confirmation from 
sources that flow far below the surface, and so become a 
swollen stream of hostile feelings towards persons who are in 
reality dear to me. The source which furnishes the confirma- 
tion is to be found in childhood. I have already said that 
my friendships as well as my enmities with persons of my own 
age go back to my childish relations with my nephew, who 



THE DREAM- WORK 385 

was a year older than I. In these he had the upper hand, 
and I early learned how to defend myself ; we lived together 
inseparably, loved each other, and at the same time, as state- 
ments of older persons testify, scuffled with and accused each 
other. In a certain sense all my friends are incarnations of 
this first figure, " which early appeared to my blurred sight " ; 
they are all revenants. My nephew himself returned in the 
years of adolescence, and then we acted Csesar and Brutus. 
An intimate friend and a hated enemy have always been 
indispensable requirements for my emotional life ; I have 
always been able to create them anew, and not infrequently 
my childish ideal has been so closely approached that friend 
and enemy coincided in the same person, not simultaneously, 
of course, nor in repeated alterations, as had been the case in 
my first childhood years. 

I do not here wish to trace the manner in which a recent 
occasion for emotion may reach back to one in childhood — 
through connections like these I have just described — in order 
to find a substitute for itself, in this earlier occasion for the 
sake of increased emotional effect. Such an investigation 
would belong to the psychology of the unconscious, and would 
find its place in a psychological explanation of neuroses. Let 
us assume for the purposes of dream interpretation that a 
childhood recollection makes its appearance or is formed by 
the fancy, say to the following effect : Two children get into 
a fight on account of some object — just what we shall leave 
undecided, although memory or an allusion of memory has a 
very definite one in mind — and each one claims that he got 
to it first, and that he, therefore, has first right to it. They 
come to blows, for might makes right ; and, according to the 
intimation of the dream, I must have known that I was in the 
wrong (noticing the error myself), but this time I remain the 
stronger and take possession of the battlefield ; the defeated 
combatant hurries to my father, his grandfather, and accuses 
me, and I defend myself with the words which I know from 
my father : "I hit him because he hit me." Thus this re- 
collection, or more probably fancy, which forces itself upon my 
attention in the course of the analysis — from my present 
knowledge I myself do not know how — becomes an inter- 
mediary of the dream thoughts that collects the emotional 

2 B 



386 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

excitements obtaining in the dream thoughts, as the bowl of a 
fountain collects the streams of water flowing into it. From 
this point the dream thoughts flow along the following paths : 
" It serves you quite right if you had to vacate your place 
for me ; why did you try to force me out of my place ? I 
don't need you ; I'll soon find someone else to play with," &c. 
Then the ways are opened through which these thoughts again 
follow into the representation of the dream. For such an 
" ote-toi que je m'y mette " I once had to reproach my de- 
ceased friend Joseph. He had been next to me in the line of 
promotion in Bruecke's laboratory, but advancement there 
was very slow. Neither of the two assistants budged from 
his place, and youth became impatient. My friend, who 
knew that his time of life was limited, and who was bound by 
no tie to his superior, was a man seriously ill ; the wish for his 
removal permitted an objectionable interpretation — he might 
be moved by something besides promotion. Several years 
before, the same wish for freedom had naturally been more 
intense in my own case ; wherever in the world there are 
gradations of rank and advancement, the doors are opened 
for wishes needing suppression. Shakespeare's Prince Hal 
cannot get rid of the temptation to see how the crown fits 
even at the bed of his sick father. But, as may easily be 
understood, the dream punishes this ruthless wish not upon 
me but upon him.* 

" As he was ambitious, I slew him." As he could not wait 
for the other man to make way for him, he himself has been 
put out of the way. I harbour these thoughts immediately 
after attending the unveiling of the statue to the other man 
at the university. A part of the satisfaction which I feel in 
the dream may therefore be interpreted : Just punishment ; 
it served you right. 

At the funeral of this friend a young man made the follow- 
ing remark, which seemed out of place : " The preacher talked 
as though the world couldn't exist without this one human 
being." The displeasure of the sincere man, whose sorrow 

* It is striking that the name Joseph plays such a large part in my 
dreams (see the dream about my uncle). I can hide my ego in the dream 
behind persons of this name with particular ease, for Joseph was the name 
of the dream interpreter in the Bible. 



THE DREAM-WORK 387 

has been marred by the exaggeration, begins to arise in him. 
But with this speech are connected the dream thoughts : 
" No one is really irreplaceable ; how many men have I 
already escorted to the grave, but I am still living, I have 
survived them all, I claim the field." Such a thought at the 
moment when I fear that when I travel to see him I shall find 
my friend no longer among the living, permits only of the 
further development that I am glad I am surviving someone, 
that it is not I who have died, but he — that I occupy the field 
as I once did in the fancied scene in childhood. This satis- 
faction, coming from sources in childhood, at the fact that I 
claim the field, covers the larger part of the emotion which 
appears in the dream. I am glad that I am the survivor — 
I express this sentiment with the nai've egotism of the husband 
who says to his wife : "If one of us dies, I shall move to Paris." 
It is such a matter of course for my expectation that I am not 
to be the one. 

It cannot be denied that great self-control is necessary to 
interpret one's dreams and to report them. It is necessary 
for you to reveal yourself as the one scoundrel among all the 
noble souls with whom you share the breath of life. Thus, 
I consider it quite natural that revenants exist only as long as 
they are wanted, and that they can be obviated by a wish. 
This is the thing for which my friend Joseph has been punished. 
But the revenants are the successive incarnations of the friend 
of my childhood ; I am also satisfied at the fact that I have 
replaced this person for myself again and again, and a substi- 
tute will doubtless soon be found even for the friend whom I 
am about to lose. No one is irreplaceable. 

But what has the dream censor been doing meanwhile ? 
Why does it not raise the most emphatic objection to a train 
of thought characterised by such brutal selfishness, and change 
the satisfaction that adheres to it into profound repugnance ? 
I think it is because other unobjectionable trains of thought 
likewise result in satisfaction and cover the emotion coming 
from forbidden infantile sources with their own. In another 
stratum of thought I said to myself at that festive unveiling : 
" I have lost so many dear friends, some through death, some 
through the dissolution of friendship — is it not beautiful that 
I have found substitutes for them, that I have gained one who 



388 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

means more to me than the others could, whom I shall from 
now on always retain, at the age when it is not easy to form 
new friendships ? " The satisfaction that I have found this 
substitute for lost friends can be taken over into the dream 
without interference, but behind it there sneaks in the inimical 
satisfaction from the infantile source. Childish affection un- 
doubtedly assists in strengthening the justifiable affection of 
to-day ; but childish hatred has also found its way into the 
representation. 

But besides this there is distinct reference in the dream to 
another chain of thoughts, which may manifest itself in the 
form of satisfaction. My friend had shortly before had a little 
daughter born, after long waiting. I knew how much he had 
grieved for the sister whom he lost at an early age, and I wrote 
to him that he would transfer to this child the love he had felt 
for her. This little girl would at last make him forget his 
irreparable loss. 

Thus this chain also connects with the intermediary thoughts 
of the latent dream content, from which the ways spread out 
in opposite directions : No one is irreplaceable. You see, 
nothing but revenants ; all that one has lost comes back. And 
now the bonds of association between the contradictory ele- 
ments of the dream thoughts are more tightly drawn by the 
accidental circumstance that the little daughter of my friend 
bears the same name as the girl playmate of my own youth, 
who was just my own age and the sister of my oldest friend 
and antagonist. I have heard the name " Pauline " with 
satisfaction, and in order to allude to this coincidence I have 
replaced one Joseph in the dream by another Joseph, and have 
not overlooked the similarity in sound between the names 
Fleischl and F. From this point a train of thought runs to the 
naming of my own children. I insisted that the names should 
not be chosen according to the fashion of the day but should 
be determined by regard for the memory of beloved persons. 
The children's names make them " revenants." And, finally, 
is not the having of children the only access to immortality 
for us all ? 

I shall add only a few remarks about the emotions of the 
dream from another point of view. An emotional inclination 
— what we call a mood — may occur in the mind of a sleeping 



THE DREAM- WORK 389 

person as its dominating element, and may induce a corre- 
sponding mood in the dream. This mood may be the result 
of the experiences and thoughts of the day, or it may be of 
somatic origin ; in either case it will be accompanied by the 
chains of thought that correspond to it. The fact that in the 
one case this presentation content conditions the emotional 
inclination primarily, and that in the other case it is brought 
about secondarily by a disposition of feeling of somatic origin 
remains without influence upon the formation of the dream. 
This formation is always subject to the restriction that it can 
represent only a wish-fulfilment, and that it may put its psychic 
motive force at the service only of the wish. The mood that 
is actually present will receive the same treatment as the sen- 
sation which actually comes to the surface during sleep (cf. 
p. 198), which is either neglected or reinterpreted so as to 
signify a wish-fulfilment. Disagreeable moods during sleep 
become a motive force of the dream by actuating energetic 
wishes, which the dream must fulfil. The material to which 
they are attached is worked over until it finally becomes suit- 
able for the expression of the fulfilled wish. The more intense 
and the more dominating the element of the disagreeable mood 
in the dream thought, the more surely will the wish-impulses 
that have been most rigorously suppressed take advantage of 
the opportunity to secure representation, for they find that 
the difficult part of the work necessary in securing representa- 
tion has already been accomplished in that the repugnance is 
already actually in existence, which they would otherwise 
have had to produce by their own effort. With this discus- 
sion we again touch upon the problem of anxiety dreams, 
which we may regard as bounding the province of the dream 
activity. 

(h) Secondary Elaboration. 

We may at last proceed to an exposition of the fourth of 
the factors which take part in the formation of the dream. 

If we continue the examination of the dream content, in 
the manner already outlined — that is, by testing striking occur- 
rences as to their origin in the dream thoughts — we encounter 
elements which can be explained only by making an entirely 



390 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

new assumption. I have in mind cases where one shows 
astonishment, anger, or resistance in a dream, and that, too, 
against a party of the dream content itself. Most of these 
exercises of the critical faculty in dreams are not directed 
against the dream content, but prove to be portions of dream 
material which have been taken over and suitably made use 
of, as I have shown by fitting examples. Some things of this 
sort, however, cannot be disposed of in such a way ; their 
correlative cannot be found in the dream material. What, 
for instance, is meant by the criticism not infrequent in dreams : 
" Well, it's only a dream " ? This is a genuine criticism of 
the dream such as I might make if I were awake. Not at all 
infrequently it is the forerunner to .waking ; still offener it 
is preceded by a painful feeling, which subsides when the cer- 
tainty of the dream state has been established. The thought : 
" But it's only a dream," occurring during the dream, has the 
same object which is meant to be conveyed on the stage 
through the mouth of the beautiful Helen von Offenbach ; 
it wants to minimise what has just occurred and secure in- 
dulgence for what is to follow. Its purpose is to reassure and, 
so to speak, put to sleep a certain instance which at the given 
moment has every reason to be active and to forbid the con- 
tinuation of the dream — or the scene. It is pleasanter to go 
on sleeping and to tolerate the dream, " because it's only a 
dream anyway." I imagine that the disparaging criticism, 
" But it's only a dream," enters into the dream at the moment 
when the censor, which has never been quite asleep, feels that 
it has been surprised by the already admitted dream. It is 
too late to suppress the dream, and the instance therefore 
carries with it that note of fear or of painful feeling which pre- 
sents itself in the dream. It is an expression of the esprit 
d'escalier on the part of the psychic censor. 

In this example we have faultless proof that not every- 
thing which the dream contains comes from the dream thoughts, 
but that a psychic function which cannot be differentiated 
from our waking thoughts may make contributions to the dream 
content. The question now is, does this occur only in alto- 
gether exceptional cases, or does the psychic instance which 
is usually active only as censor take a regular part in the 
formation of dreams % 



THE DREAM-WORK 391 

One must decide unhesitatingly for the latter view. It 
is indisputable that the censoring instance, whose influence 
we have so far recognised only in limitations and omissions in 
the dream content, is also responsible for interpolations and 
amplifications in this content. Often these interpolations are 
easily recognised ; they are reported irresolutely, prefaced 
by an "as if," they are not in themselves particularly vivid, 
and are regularly inserted at points where they may serve to 
connect two portions of the dream content or improve the 
sequence between two sections of the dream. They manifest 
less ability to stick in the memory than genuine products of 
the dream material ; if the dream is subject to forgetting, they 
are the first to fall away, and I am strongly inclined to believe 
that our frequent complaint that we have dreamed so much, 
that we have forgotten most of this and have remembered 
only fragments of it, rests on the immediate falling away of 
just these cementing thoughts. In a complete analysis these 
interpolations are often betrayed by the fact that no material 
is to be found for them in the dream thoughts. But after 
careful examination I must designate this case as a rare one ; 
usually interpolated thoughts can be traced to an element 
in the dream thoughts, which, however, can claim a place in 
the dream neither on account of its own merit nor on account 
of over-determination. The psychic function in dream forma- 
tion, which we are now considering, aspires to the original 
creations only in the most extreme cases ; whenever possible, 
it makes use of anything available it can find in the dream 
material. 

The thing which distinguishes and reveals this part of the 
dream activity is its tendency. This function proceeds in a 
manner similar to that which the poet spitefully attributes 
to the philosopher ; with its scraps and rags, it stops up the 
breaches in the structure of the dream. The result of its 
effort is that the dream loses the appearance of absurdity 
and incoherence, and approaches the pattern of an intelligible 
experience. But the effort is not always crowned with com- 
plete success. Thus dreams occur which may seem fault- 
lessly logical and correct upon superficial examination ; they 
start from a possible situation, continue it by means of consis- 
tent changes, and end up — although this is very rare — with 



392 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

a not unnatural conclusion. These dreams have been subjected 
to the most thorough elaboration at the hands of a psychic 
function similar to our waking thought ; they seem to have 
a meaning, but this meaning is very far removed from the 
real signification of the dream. If they are analysed, one is 
convinced that the secondary elaboration has distorted the 
material very freely, and has preserved its proper relations as 
little as possible. These are the dreams which have, so to 
speak, already been interpreted before we subject them to 
waking interpretation. In other dreams this purposeful 
elaboration has been successful only to a certain point ; up 
to this point consistency seems to be dominant, then the dream 
becomes nonsensical or confused, and perhaps finally it lifts 
itself for a second time in its course to an appearance of 
rationality. In still other dreams the elaboration has failed 
completely ; we find ourselves helpless in the presence of a 
senseless mass of fragmentary contents. 

I do not wish to deny to this fourth dream-moulding power, 
which will soon seem to us a familiar one — it is in reality the 
only one among the four dream-moulders with which we are 
familiar, — I do not wish to deny this fourth factor the capability 
of creatively furnishing the dream with new contributions. 
But surely its influence, like that of the others, manifests 
itself preponderatingly in the preferring and choosing of 
already created psychic material in the dream thoughts. 
Now there is a case where it is spared the work, for the most 
part, of building, as it were, a facade to the dream, by the fact 
that such a structure, waiting to be used, is already to be found 
complete in the material of the dream thoughts. The element 
of the dream thoughts which I have in mind, I am in the habit 
of designating as a " phantasy " ; perhaps I shall avoid 
misunderstanding if I immediately adduce the day dream of 
waking life as an analogy.* The part played by this element 
in our psychic life has not yet been fully recognised and in- 
vestigated by the psychiatrists ; in this study M. Benedikt has, 
it seems to me, made a highly promising beginning. The sig- 
nificance of the day dream has not yet escaped the unerring 
insight of poets ; the description of the day dreams of one 
of his subordinate characters which A. Daudet gives us in 
* Revo, petit roman — day-dream, story. 



THE DREAM-WORK 393 

Nabob is universally known. A study of the psychoneuroses 
discloses the astonishing fact that these phantasies or day 
dreams are the immediate predecessors of hysterical symptoms 
— at least of a great many of them ; hysterical symptoms 
directly depend not upon the memories themselves, but upon 
phantasies built on the basis of memories. The frequent 
occurrence of conscious day phantasies brings these formations 
within the scope of our knowledge ; but just as there are 
such conscious phantasies, so there are a great many un- 
conscious ones, which must remain unconscious on account 
of their content and on account of their origin from repressed 
material. A more thorough examination into the character 
of these day phantasies shows with what good reason the 
same name has been given to these formations as to the pro- 
ducts of our nocturnal thought, — dreams. They possess an 
essential part of their properties in common with nocturnal 
dreams ; an examination of them would really have afforded 
the shortest and best approach to an understanding of night 
dreams. 

Like dreams, they are fulfilments of wishes ; like dreams 
a good part of them are based upon the impressions of childish 
experiences ; like dreams their creations enjoy a certain amount 
of indulgence from the censor. If we trace their formation, 
we see how the wish motive, which is active in their production, 
has taken the material of which they are built, mixed it to- 
gether, rearranged it, and composed it into a new unit. They 
bear the same relation to the childish memories, to which 
they go back, as some of the quaint palaces of Rome bear to 
the ancient ruins, whose freestones and pillars have furnished 
the material for the structure built in modern form. 

In the " secondary elaboration " of the dream content 
which we have ascribed to our fourth dream-making factor, 
we again find the same activity which in the creation of day 
dreams is allowed to manifest itself unhampered by other 
influences. We may say without further preliminary that 
this fourth factor of ours seeks to form something like a day 
dream from the material at hand. Where, however, such a 
day dream has already been formed in connection with the 
dream thought, this factor of the dream-work will preferably 
get control of it, and strive to introduce it into the dream 



394 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

content. There are dreams which consist merely of the repe- 
tition of such a day fancy, a fancy which has perhaps remained 
unconscious — as, for instance, the dream of the boy that he 
is riding with the heroes of the Trojan war in a war chariot. 
In my dream " Autodidasker," at least the second part of the 
dream is the faithful repetition of a day phantasy — harmless 
in itself — about my dealings with Professor N. The fact that 
the phantasy thus provided more often forms only one part of 
the dream, or that only one part of the phantasy that makes its 
way to the dream content, has its origin in the complexity of 
the conditions which the dream must satisfy at its genesis. On 
the whole, the phantasy is treated like any other component of 
the latent material ; still it is often recognisable in the dream 
as a whole. In my dreams parts often occur which are empha- 
sized by an impression different from that of the rest. They 
seem to me to be in a state of flux, to be more coherent and at 
the same time more transient than other pieces of the same 
dream. I know that these are unconscious phantasies which 
get into the dream by virtue of their association, but I have 
never succeeded in registering such a phantasy. For the rest 
these phantasies, like all other component parts of the dream 
thoughts, are jumbled together and condensed, one covered 
up by another, and the like ; but there are all degrees, from 
the case where they may constitute the dream content or at 
least the dream fagade unchanged to the opposite case, where 
they are represented in the dream content by only one of their 
elements or by a remote allusion to such an element. The 
extent to which the phantasies are able to withstand the de- 
mands of the censor and the tendency to condensation are, of 
course, also decisive of their fate among the dream thoughts. 

In my choice of examples for dream analysis I have, 
wherever possible, avoided those dreams in which unconscious 
fancies play a somewhat important part, because the intro- 
duction of this psychic element would have necessitated ex- 
tensive discussion of the psychology of unconscious thought. 
But 1 cannot entirely omit the " phantasy " even in this matter 
of examples, because it often gets fully into the dream and 
still more often distinctly pervades it. I may mention one 
more dream, which seems to be composed of two distinct and 
opposed phantasies, overlapping each other at certain places, 



THE DREAM- WORK 395 

of which the first is superficial, while the second becomes, as 
it were, the interpreter of the first.* 

The dream — it is the only one for which I have no careful 
notes — is about to this effect : The dreamer — an unmarried 
young man — is sitting in an inn, which is seen correctly ; 
several persons come to get him, among them someone who 
wants to arrest him. He says to his table companions, " I 
will pay later, I am coming back." But they call to him, 
laughing scornfully : " We know all about that ; that's what 
everybody says." One guest calls after him : " There goes 
another one." He is then led to a narrow hall, where he finds 
a woman with a child in her arms. One of his escorts says : 
" That is Mr. Müller." A commissioner or some other official 
is running through a bundle of tickets or papers repeating 
Müller, Müller, Müller. At last the commissioner asks him 
a question, which he answers with " Yes." He then takes 
a look at the woman, and notices that she has grown a 
large beard. 

The two component parts are here easily separated. What 
is superficial is the phantasy of being arrested ; it seems to be 
newly created by the dream- work. But behind it appears the 
phantasy of marriage, and this material, on the contrary, has 
undergone but slight change at the hands of the dream 
activity. The features which are common to both phantasies 
come into distinct prominence as in a Galton's composite 
photograph. The promise of the bachelor to come back to 
his place at the club table, the scepticism of the drinking com- 
panions, sophisticated in their many experiences, the calling 
after : " There goes (marries) another one," — all these features 
can easily be capable of the other interpretation. Likewise 
the affirmative answer given to the official. Running through 
the bundle of papers with the repetition of the name, corre- 

* I have analysed a good example of a dream of this kind having its 
origin in the stratification of several phantasies, in the Bruchstück einer 
Hysterie Analyse, 1905. Moreover I undervalued the significance of such 
phantasies for dream formation, as long as I was working chiefly with my 
own dreams, which were based rarely upon day dreams, most frequently 
upon discussions and mental conflicts. With other persons it is often 
much easier to prove the full analogy betioeen the nocturnal dream and the day 
dream. It is often possible in an hysterical patient to replace an attack by 
a dream ; it is then obvious that the phantasy of day dreams is the first 
step for both psychic formations. 



396 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

sponds to a subordinate but well-recognised feature of the 
marriage ceremonies — the reading aloud of the congratulatory 
telegrams which have arrived irregularly, and which, of 
course, are all addressed to the same name. In the matter of 
the bride's personal appearance in this dream, the marriage 
phantasy has even got the better of the arrest phantasy which 
conceals it. The fact that this bride finally displays a beard, 
I can explain from an inquiry — I had no chance to make an 
analysis. The dreamer had on the previous day crossed the 
street with a friend who was just as hostile to marriage as 
himself, and had called his friend's attention to a beautiful 
brunette who was coming towards them. The friend had 
remarked : " Yes, if only these women wouldn't get beards, 
as they grow older, like their fathers." 

Of course there is no lack of elements in this dream, on which 
the dream disfigurement has done more thorough work. Thus 
the speech : "I will pay later," may have reference to the 
conduct of the father-in-law in the matter of dowry — which 
is uncertain. Obviously all kinds of scruples are preventing 
the dreamer from surrendering himself with pleasure to the 
phantasy of marrying. One of these apprehensions — lest one's 
freedom be lost when one marries — has embodied itself in the 
transformation to a scene of arrest. 

Let us return to the thesis that the dream activity likes 
to make use of a phantasy which is finished and at hand, 
instead of creating one afresh from the material of the dream 
thoughts ; we shall perhaps solve one of the most interesting 
riddles of the dream if we keep this fact in mind. I have on 
page 21 related the dream of Maury, 48 who is struck on the 
back of the neck with a stick, and who awakes in the possession 
of a long dream — a complete romance from the time of the 
French Revolution. Since the dream is represented as co- 
herent and as explicable by reference to the disturbing stimulus 
alone, about the occurrence of which stimulus the sleeper could 
suspect nothing, only one assumption seems to be left, namely, 
that the whole richly elaborated dream must have been com- 
posed and must have taken place in the short space of time 
between the falling of the stick on Maury's cervical vertebra 
and the awakening induced by the blow. We should not feel 
justified in ascribing such rapidity to the waking mental 



THE DREAM-WORK 397 

activity, and so are inclined, to credit the dream activity with 
a remarkable acceleration of thought as one of its characteristics. 
Against this inference, which rapidly becomes popular, 
more recent authors (Le Lorrain, 45 Egger, 20 and others) have 
made emphatic objection. They partly doubt the correctness 
with which the dream was reported by Maury, and partly try 
to show that the rapidity of our waking mental capacity is 
quite as great as that which we may concede without reserva- 
tion to the dream activity. The discussion raises fundamental 
questions, the settlement of which I do not think concerns 
me closely. But I must admit that the argument, for instance, 
of Egger has not impressed me as convincing against the 
guillotine dream of Maury. I would suggest the following 
explanation of this dream : Would it be very improbable that 
the dream of Maury exhibits a phantasy which had been pre- 
served in his memory in a finished state for years, and which 
was awakened — I should rather say alluded to — at the moment 
when he became aware of the disturbing stimulus ? The diffi- 
culty of composing such a long story with all its details in the 
exceedingly short space of time which is here at the disposal 
of the dreamer then disappears ; the story is already com- 
posed. If the stick had struck Maury's neck when he was 
awake there would perhaps have been time for the thought : 
" Why, that's like being guillotined." But as he is struck 
by the stick while asleep, the dream activity quickly finds 
occasion in the incoming stimulus to construct a wish-fulfil- 
ment, as though it thought (this is to be taken entirely figura- 
tively) : " Here is a good opportunity to realise the wish 
phantasy which I formed at such and such a time while I was 
reading." That this dream romance is just such a one as a 
youth would be likely to fashion under the influence of power- 
ful impressions does not seem questionable to me. Who 
would not have been carried away — especially a Frenchman 
and a student of the history of civilisation — by descriptions of 
the Reign of Terror, in which the aristocracy, men and women, 
the flower of the nation, showed that it was possible to die 
with a light heart, and preserved their quick wit and refine- 
ment of life until the fatal summons ? How tempting to 
fancy one's self in the midst of all this as one of the young men 
who parts from his lady with a kiss of the hand to climb 



398 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

fearlessly upon the scaffold ! Or perhaps ambition is the 
ruling motive of the phantasy — the ambition to put one's self 
in the place of one of those powerful individuals who merely, 
by the force of their thinking and their fiery eloquence, rule 
the city in which the heart of mankind is beating so convul- 
sively, who are impelled by conviction to send thousands of 
human beings to their death, and who pave the way for the 
transformation of Europe ; who, meanwhile, are not sure of 
their own heads, and may one day lay them under the knife 
of the guillotine, perhaps in the role of one of the Girondists 
or of the hero Danton ? The feature, " accompanied by an 
innumerable multitude," which is preserved in the memory, 
seems to show that Maury's phantasy is an ambitious one of 
this sort. 

But this phantasy, which has for a long time been ready, 
need not be experienced again in sleep ; it suffices if it is, so 
to speak, " touched off." What I mean is this : If a few notes 
are struck and someone says, as in Don Juan : " That is from 
Figaro's Wedding by Mozart," memories suddenly surge up 
within me, none of which I can in the next moment recall 
to consciousness. The characteristic phrase serves as an en- 
trance station from which a complete whole is simultaneously 
put in motion. It need not be different in the case of un- 
conscious thought. The psychic station which opens the way 
to the whole guillotine phantasy is set in motion by the waking 
stimulus. This phantasy, however, is not passed in review 
during sleep, but only afterwards in waking memory. Upon 
awakening one remembers the details of the phantasy, which in 
the dream was regarded as a whole. There is, withal, no means 
of making sure that one really has remembered anything which 
has been dreamed. The same explanation, namely, that one 
is dealing with finished phantasies which have been set in 
motion as wholes by the waking stimulus, may be applied to 
still other dreams which proceed from a waking stimulus — 
for instance to the battle dream of Napoleon at the explosion 
of the bomb. I do not mean to assert that all waking dreams 
admit of this explanation, or that the problem of the accelerated 
discharge of ideas in dreams is to be altogether solved in this 
manner. 

We must not neglect the relation of this secondary elabora- 



THE DREAM- WORK 399 

tion of the dream content to the other factors in the dream 
activity. Might the procedure be as follows : the dream- 
creating factors, the impulse to condense, the necessity of 
evading the censor, and the regard for dramatic fitness in the 
psychic resources of the dream — these first of all create a pro- 
visional dream content, and this is then subsequently modified 
until it satisfies the exactions of a second instance ? This is 
hardly probable. It is necessary rather to assume that the 
demands of this instance are from the very beginning lodged 
in one of the conditions which the dream must satisfy, and 
that this condition, just like those of condensation, of censor- 
ship, and of dramatic fitness, simultaneously affect the whole 
mass of material in the dream thoughts in an inductive and 
selective manner. But of the four conditions necessary for 
the dream formation, the one last recognised is the one whose 
exactions appear to be least binding upon the dream. 
That this psychic function, which undertakes the so-called 
secondary elaboration of the dream content is identical 
with the work of our waking thought may be inferred with 
great probability from the following consideration : — Our 
waking (foreconscious) thought behaves towards a given object 
of perception just exactly as the function in question behaves 
towards the dream content. It is natural for our waking 
thought to bring about order in the material of perception, 
to construct relationships, and to make it subject to the re- 
quirements of an intelligible coherence. Indeed, we go too 
far in doing this ; the tricks of prestidigitators deceive us by 
taking advantage of this intellectual habit. In our effort to 
put together the sensory impressions which are offered to us 
in a comprehensible manner, we often commit the most bizarre 
errors and even distort the truth of the material we have 
before us. Proofs for this are too generally familiar to need 
more extended consideration here. We fail to see errors in a 
printed page because our imagination pictures the proper words. 
The editor of a widely-read French paper is said to have risked 
the wager that he could print the words "from in front " or 
" from behind " in every sentence of a long article without any 
of his readers noticing it. He won the wager. A curious ex- 
ample of incorrect associations years ago caught my attention 
in a newspaper. After the session of the French chamber, 



400 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

at which Dupuy quelled a panic caused by the explosion of a 
bomb thrown into the hall by an anarchist by saying calmly, 
" La seance continue," the visitors in the gallery were asked 
to testify as to their impression of the attempted assassination. 
Among them were two provincials. One of these told that 
immediately after the conclusion of a speech he had heard a 
detonation, but had thought that it was the custom in parlia- 
ment to fire a shot whenever a speaker had finished. The 
other, who had apparently already heard several speakers, 
had got the same idea, with the variation, however, that he 
supposed this shooting to be a sign of appreciation following 
an especially successful speech. 

Thus the psychic instance which approaches the dream 
content with the demand that it must be intelligible, which 
subjects it to preliminary interpretation, and in doing so 
brings about a complete misunderstanding of it, is no other 
than our normal thought. In our interpretation the rule will 
be in every case to disregard the apparent coherence of the 
dream as being of suspicious origin, and, whether the elements 
are clear or confused, to follow the same regressive path to the 
dream material. 

We now learn upon what the scale of quality in dreams 
from confusion to clearness — mentioned above, page 305 — 
essentially depends. Those parts of the dream with which 
the secondary elaboration has been able to accomplish some- 
thing seem to us clear ; those where the power of this activity 
has failed seem confused. Since the confused parts of the 
dream are often also those which are less vividly imprinted, 
we may conclude that the secondary dream-work is also re- 
sponsible for a contribution to the plastic intensity of the 
individual dream structures. 

If I were to seek an object of comparison for the definitive 
formation of the dream as it manifests itself under the in- 
fluence of normal thinking, none better offers itself than those 
mysterious inscriptions with which Die Fliegende Blaetter has 
so long amused its readers. The reader is supposed to find a 
Latin inscription concealed in a given sentence which, for the 
sake of contrast, is in dialect and as scurrilous as possible in 
significance. For this purpose the letters are taken from their 
groupings in syllables and are newly arranged. Now and then 



THE DREAM-WORK 401 

a genuine Latin word results, at other places we think that we 
have abbreviations of such words before us, and at still other 
places in the inscription we allow ourselves to be carried along 
over the senselessness of the disjointed letters by the semblance 
of disintegrated portions or by breaks in the inscription. If 
we do not wish to respond to the jest we must give up 
looking for an inscription, must take the letters as we see them, 
and must compose them into words of our mother tongue, 
unmindful of the arrangement which is offered. 

I shall now undertake a resume of this extended discussion 
of the dream activity. We were confronted by the question 
whether the mind exerts all its capabilities to the fullest 
development in dream formation, or only a fragment of its 
capabilities, and these restricted in their activity. Our 
investigation leads us to reject such a formulation of the 
question entirely as inadequate to our circumstances. But if we 
are to remain on the same ground when we answer as that on 
which the question is urged upon us, we must acquiesce in 
two conceptions which are apparently opposed and mutually 
exclusive. The psychic activity in dream formation resolves 
itself into two functions — the provision of the dream thoughts 
and the transformation of these into the dream content. The 
dream thoughts are entirely correct, and are formed with all 
the psychic expenditure of which we are capable ; they belong 
to our thoughts which have not become conscious, from which 
our thoughts which have become conscious also result by 
means of a certain transposition. Much as there may be 
about them which is worth knowing and mysterious, these 
problems have no particular relation to the dream, and have 
no claim to be treated in connection with dream problems. 
On the other hand, there is that second portion of the activity 
which changes the unconscious thoughts into the dream 
content, an activity peculiar to dream life and characteristic 
of it. Now, this peculiar dream- work is much further removed 
from the model of waking thought than even the most decided 
depreciators of psychic activity in dream formation have 
thought. It is not, one might say, more negligent, more 
incorrect, more easily forgotten, more incomplete than 
waking thought ; it is something qualitatively altogether 
different from waking thought, and therefore not in any way 

2 c " 



402 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

comparable to it. It does not in general think, calculate, or 
judge at all, but limits itself to transforming. It can be ex- 
haustively described if the conditions which must be satisfied 
at its creation are kept in mind. This product, the dream, 
must at any cost be withdrawn from the censor, and for this 
purpose the dream activity makes use of the displacement of 
psychic intensities up to the transvaluation of all psychic 
values ; thoughts must exclusively or predominatingly be 
reproduced in the material of visual and acoustic traces of 
memory, and this requirement secures for the dream-work 
the regard for presentability, which meets the requirement by 
furnishing new displacements. Greater intensities are (prob- 
ably) to be provided than are each night at the disposal of 
the dream thoughts, and this purpose is served by the prolific 
condensation which is undertaken with the component parts 
of the dream thoughts. Little attention is paid to the logical 
relations of the thought material ; they ultimately find a 
veiled representation in the formal peculiarities of the dream. 
The affects of the dream thoughts undergo lesser changes 
than their presentation content. As a rule they are sup- 
pressed ; where they are preserved they are freed from the 
presentations and put together according to their similarity. 
Only one part of the dream-work — the revision varying in 
amount, made by the partially roused conscious thought — 
at all agrees with the conception which the authors have tried 
to extend to the entire activity of dream formation. 



VII 

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE DKEAM ACTIVITIES 

Among the dreams which I have heard from others there is 
one which at this point is especially worthy of our attention. 
It was told to me by a female patient who in turn had heard 
it in a lecture on dreams. Its original source is unknown to 
me. This dream evidently made a deep impression upon the 
lady, as she went so far as to imitate it, i.e. to repeat the 
elements of this dream in a dream of her own in order to 
express by this transference her agreement with it in a certain 
point. 

The essential facts of this illustrative dream are as follows : 
For days and nights a father had watched at the sick-bed of 
his child. After the child died, he retired to rest in an ad- 
joining room, leaving the door ajar, however, so as to enable 
him to look from his room into the other, where the corpse lay 
surrounded by burning candles. An old man, who was left 
as a watch, sat near the corpse murmuring prayers. After 
sleeping a few hours the father dreamed that the child stood 
near his bed clasping his arms and culling out reproachfully, 
" Father, don't you see that I am burning ? " The father woke 
and noticed a bright light coming from the adjoining room. 
Rushing in, he found the old man asleep, and the covers and 
one arm of the beloved body burned by the fallen candle. 

The meaning of this affecting dream is simple enough, and 
the explanation given by the lecturer, as my patient reported 
it, was correct. The bright light coming through the open 
door into the eyes of the sleeper produced the same impression 
on him as if he had been awake ; namely, that a fire had been 
started near the corpse by a falling candle. It is quite possible 
that on going to sleep he feared that the aged guardian was 
not equal to his task. 

We can find nothing to change in this interpretation. We 
can add only that the contents of the dream must be over- 

403 



404 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

determined, and that the talking of the child consisted of 
phrases that it had uttered while still living, which recalled to 
the father important events. Perhaps the complaint, " I am 
burning," recalled the fever from which the child died, and 
the words quoted, " Father, don't you see ? " recalled an 
emotional occurrence unknown to us. 

But after we have recognised the dream as a senseful 
occurrence which can be correlated with our psychic existence, 
it may be surprising that a dream should have taken place 
under circumstances which necessitated such immediate 
awakening. We also notice that the dream does not lack the 
wish-fulfilment. The child acts as if living ; it warns the 
father itself ; it comes to his bed and clasps his arms, as it 
probably did on the occasion which gave origin to the first 
part of the speech in the dream. It was for the sake of this 
wish-fulfilment that the father slept a moment longer. The 
dream triumphed over the conscious reflection because it could 
show the child once more alive. If the father had awakened 
first, and had then drawn the conclusion which led him into 
the adjoining room, he would have shortened the child's life 
by this one moment. 

The peculiar feature in this brief dream which engages our 
interest is quite plain. So far we have mainly endeavoured 
to ascertain wherein the secret meaning of the dream consists, 
in what way this is to be discovered, and what means the 
dream-work uses to conceal it. In other words, our greatest 
interest has hitherto centred on the problems of interpreta- 
tion. We now encounter a dream, however, which can be 
easily explained, the sense of which is plainly presented ; and 
we notice that in spite of this fact the dream still preserves 
the essential features which plainly differentiate our dreaming 
from our conscious thinking, and thus clearly demands an 
explanation. After clearing up all the problems of interpreta- 
tion, we can still feel how imperfect our psychology of the 
dream is. 

Before entering, however, into this new territory, let us 
stop and reflect whether we have not missed something im- 
portant on our way hither. For it must be frankly admitted 
that we have been traversing the easy and comfortable part 
of our journey. Hitherto all the paths we have followed 



PSYCHOLOGY OF DREAM ACTIVITIES 405 

have led, if I mistake not, to light, to explication, and to full 
understanding, but from the moment that we wish to pene- 
trate deeper into the psychic processes of the dream all paths 
lead into darkness. It is quite impossible to explain the 
dream as a psychic process, for to explain means to trace to 
the known, and as yet we do not possess any psychological 
knowledge under which we can range what may be inferred 
from our psychological investigation of dreams as their funda- 
mental explanation. On the contrary, we shall be compelled 
to build a series of new assumptions concerning the structure 
of the psychic apparatus and its active forces ; and this we 
shall have to be careful not to carry beyond the simplest 
logical concatenation, as its value may otherwise merge into 
uncertainty. And, even if we should make no mistake in 
our conclusions, and take cognisance of all the logical possi- 
bilities involved, we shall still be threatened with complete 
failure in our solution through the probable incompleteness 
of our elemental data. It will also be impossible to gain, 
or at least to establish, an explanation for the construction 
and workings of the psychic instrument even through a most 
careful investigation of the dream or any other single activity. 
On the contrary, it will be necessary for this end to bring 
together whatever appears decisively as constant after a 
comparative study of a whole series of psychic activities. Thus 
the psychological conceptions which we shall gain from an 
analysis of the dream process will have to wait, as it were, 
at the junction point until they can be connected with the 
results of other investigations which may have advanced to the 
nucleus of the same problem from another starting point. 

(a) Forgetting in Dreams. 

I propose, then, first, to turn to a subject which has given 
rise to an objection hitherto unnoticed, threatening to under- 
mine the foundation of our work in dream interpretation. It 
has been objected in more than one quarter that the dream 
which we wish to interpret is really unknown to us, or, to be 
more precise, that we have no assurance of knowing it as it 
has really occurred (see p. 37). What we recollect of the dream, 
and what we subject to our methods of interpretation, is in the 
first place disfigured through our treacherous memory, which 



406 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

seems particularly unfitted to retain the dream, and which 
may have omitted precisely the most important part of the 
dream content. For, when we pay attention to our dreams, 
we often find cause to complain that we have dreamed much 
more than we remember ; that, unfortunately, we know nothing 
more than this one fragment, and that even this seems to us 
peculiarly uncertain. On the other hand, everything assures 
us that our memory reproduces the dream not only fragmen- 
tarily but also delusively and falsely. Just as on the one hand 
we may doubt whether the material dreamt was really as dis- 
connected and confused as we remember it, so on the other 
hand may we doubt whether a dream was as connected as we 
relate it ; whether in the attempt at reproduction we have 
not filled in the gaps existing or caused by forgetfulness with 
new material arbitrarily chosen ; whether we have not em- 
bellished, rounded off, and prepared the dream so that all 
judgment as to its real content becomes impossible. Indeed, 
one author (Spitta 64 ) has expressed his belief that all that is 
orderly and connected is really first put into the dream during 
our attempt to recall it. Thus we are in danger of having 
wrested from our hands the very subject whose value we have 
undertaken to determine. 

In our dream interpretations we have thus far ignored 
these warnings. Indeed, the demand for interpretation was, 
on the contrary, found to be no less perceptible in the smallest, 
most insignificant, and most uncertain ingredients of the 
dream content than in those containing the distinct and de- 
finite parts. In the dream of Irma's injection we read, " I 
quickly called in Dr. M.," and we assumed that even this 
small addendum would not have gotten into the dream if it 
had not had a special derivation. Thus we reached the history 
of that unfortunate patient to whose bed I " quickly " called 
in the older colleague. In the apparently absurd dream 
which treated the difference between 51 and 56 as quantity 
ntgligt, the number 51 was repeatedly mentioned. Instead 
of finding this self-evident or indifferent, we inferred from it 
a second train of thought in the latent content of the dream 
which led to the number 51. By following up this clue we 
came to the fears which placed 51 years as a limit of life, this 
being in most marked contrast to a dominant train of thought 



PSYCHOLOGY OF DREAM ACTIVITIES 407 

which boastfully knew no limit to life. In the dream " Non 
Vixit " I found, as an insignificant interposition that I at first 
overlooked, the sentence, "As P. does not understand him, 
Fl. asks me," &c. The interpretation then coming to a 
standstill, I returned to these words, and found through them 
the way to the infantile phantasy, which appeared in the dream 
thoughts as an intermediary point of junction. This came 
about by means of the poet's verses : 

Seldom have you understood me, 
Seldom have I understood you, 
But when we got into the mire, 
We at once understood each other. 

Every analysis will demonstrate by examples how the most 
insignificant features of the dream are indispensable to the 
analysis, and how the finishing of the task is delayed by the 
fact that attention is not at first directed to them. In the 
same way we have in the interpretation of dreams respected 
every nuance of verbal expression found in the dream ; indeed, 
if we were confronted by a senseless or insufficient wording 
betraying an unsuccessful effort to translate the dream in the 
proper style, we have even respected these defects of expression. 
In brief, what the authorities have considered arbitrary im- 
provisation, concocted hastily to suit the occasion, we have 
treated like a sacred text. This contradiction requires an 
explanation. 

It is in our favour, without disparagement to the authorities. 
From the viewpoint of our newly-acquired understanding con- 
cerning the origin of the dream, the contradictions fall into 
perfect agreement. It is true that we distort the dream in 
our attempt to reproduce it ; and herein we find another 
instance of what we have designated as the often misunder- 
stood secondary elaboration of the dream through the influ- 
ence of normal thinking. But this distortion is itself only a 
part of the elaboration to which the dream thoughts are 
regularly subjected by virtue of the dream censor. The 
authorities have here divined or observed that part of the 
dream distortion most obviously at work ; to us this is of little 
importance, for we know that a more prolific work of distortion, 
not so easily comprehensible, has already chosen the dream 



408 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

from among the concealed thoughts as its object. The 
authorities err only in considering the modifications of the 
dream while it is being recalled and put in words as arbitrary 
and insoluble ; and hence, as likely to mislead us in the inter- 
pretation of the dream. We over-estimate the determination 
of the psychic. There is nothing arbitrary in this field. It 
can quite generally be shown that a second train of thought 
immediately undertakes the determination of the elements 
which have been left undetermined by the first. I wish, 
e.g., to think quite voluntarily of a number. This, however, 
is impossible. The number that occurs to me is definitely 
and necessarily determined by thoughts within me which may 
be far from my momentary intention.* Just as far from arbi- 
trary are the modifications which the dream experiences 
through the revision of the waking state. They remain in 
associative connection with the content, the place of which 
they take, and serve to show us the way to this content, which 
may itself be the substitute for another. 

In the analysis of dreams with patients I am accustomed 
to institute the following proof of this assertion, which has 
never proved unsuccessful. If the report of a dream appears 
to me at first difficult to understand, I request the dreamer 
to repeat it. This he rarely does in the same words. The 
passages wherein the expression is changed have become 
known to me as the weak points of the dream's disguise, which 
are of the same service to me as the embroidered mark on 
Siegfried's raiment was to Hagen. The analysis may start 
from these points. The narrator has been admonished by 
my announcement that I mean to take special pains to solve 
the dream, and immediately, under the impulse of resistance, 
he protects the weak points of the dream's disguise, replacing 
the treacherous expressions by remoter ones. He thus calls 
my attention to the expressions he has dropped. From the 
efforts made to guard against the solution of the dream, I can 
also draw conclusions as to the care with which the dream's 
raiment was woven. 

The authors are, however, less justified in giving so much 
importance to the doubt which our judgment encounters in 

* Sec the Psychopathology of Everyday Life, 4th ed., 1912. (English 
translation in preparation.) 



PSYCHOLOGY OF DREAM ACTIVITIES 409 

relating the dream. It is true that this doubt betrays the lack 
of an intellectual assurance, but our memory really knows no 
guarantees, and yet, much more often than is objectively 
justified, we yield to the pressure of lending credence to its 
statements. The doubt concerning the correct representa- 
tion of the dream, or of its individual data, is again only an 
offshoot of the dream censor — that is, of the resistance against 
penetration to consciousness of the dream thoughts. This 
resistance has not entirely exhausted itself in bringing about 
the displacements and substitutions, and it therefore adheres 
as doubt to what has been allowed to pass through. We can 
recognise this doubt all the easier through the fact that it 
takes care not to attack the intensive elements of the dream, 
but only the weak and indistinct ones. For we already know 
that a transvaluation of all the psychic values has taken 
place between the dream thoughts and the dream. The dis- 
figurement has been made possible only by the alteration of 
values ; it regularly manifests itself in this way and occasion- 
ally contents itself with this. If doubt attaches to an indis- 
tinct element of the dream content, we may, following the hint, 
recognise in this element a direct offshoot of one of the out- 
lawed dream thoughts. It is here just as it was after a great 
revolution in one of the republics of antiquity or of the Re- 
naissance. The former noble and powerful ruling families 
are now banished ; all high positions are filled by upstarts ; 
in the city itself only the very poor and powerless citizens or 
the distant followers of the vanquished party are tolerated. 
Even they do not enjoy the full rights of citizenship. They 
are suspiciously watched. Instead of the suspicion in the 
comparison, we have in our case the doubt. I therefore insist 
that in the analysis of dreams one should emancipate one's self 
from the entire conception of estimating trustworthiness, and 
when there is the slightest possibility that this or that occurred 
in the dream, it should be treated as a full certainty. Until 
one has decided to reject these considerations in tracing the 
dream elements, the analysis will remain at a standstill. An- 
tipathy toward the element concerned shows its psychic effect 
in the person analysed by the fact that the undesirable idea 
will evoke no thought in his mind. Such effect is really not 
self-evident. It would not be inconsistent if one would say : 



410 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

<e Whether this or that was contained in the dream I do not 
know, but the following thoughts occur to me in this direction." 
But he never expresses himself thus ; and it is just this dis- 
turbing influence of doubt in the analysis that stamps it as 
an offshoot and instrument of the psychic resistance. Psycho- 
analysis is justly suspicious. One of its rules reads : Whatever 
disturbs the continuation of the work is a resistance. 

The forgetting of dreams, too, remains unfathomable as 
long as we do not consider the force of the psychic censor in 
its explanation. The feeling, indeed, that one has dreamt a 
great deal during the night and has retained only a little of it 
may have another meaning in a number of cases. It may 
perhaps signify that the dream-work has continued percep- 
tibly throughout the night, and has left behind only this short 
dream. There is, however, no doubt of the fact that the dream 
is progressively forgotten on awakening. One often forgets it 
in spite of painful effort to remember. I believe, however, 
that just as one generally over-estimates the extent of one's 
forgetting, so also one over-estimates the deficiencies in one's 
knowledge, judging them by the gaps occurring in the dream. 
All that has been lost through forgetting in a dream content 
can often be brought back through analysis. At least, in a 
whole series of cases, it is possible to discover from one single 
remaining fragment, not the dream, to be sure, which is of little 
importance, but all the thoughts of the dream. It requires a 
greater expenditure of attention and self-control in the analysis ; 
that is all. But, at the same time, this suggests that the for- 
getting of the dream does not lack a hostile intention. 

A convincing proof of the purposeful nature of dream- 
forgetting, in the service of resistance, is gained in analysis 
through the investigation of a preliminary stage of forgetting.* 
It often happens that in the midst of interpretation work an 
omitted fragment of the dream suddenly comes to the surface. 
This part of the dream snatched from forgetfulness is always 
the most important part. It lies on the shortest road toward 
the solution of the dream, and for that very reason it was 
most objectionable to the resistance. Among the examples of 
dreams that I have collected in connection with this treatise, 

* Concerning the object of forgetting in general, see the Psychopathology 
of Everyday Life. 



PSYCHOLOGY OF DREAM ACTIVITIES 411 

it once happened that I had to interpose subsequently such a 
piece of dream content. It was a travelling dream, which 
took vengeance upon an unlovable female travelling com- 
panion ; I have left it almost entirely uninterpreted on account 
of its being in part coarse and nasty. The part omitted read : 
" I said about a book by Schiller, ' It is from ' but cor- 
rected myself, for I noticed the mistake myself, ' It is by.' 
Upon this the man remarked to his sister, ' Indeed, he said it 
correctly.' " 

The self-correction in dreams, which seems so wonderful to 
some authors, does not merit consideration by us. I shall rather 
show from my own memory the model for the grammatical 
error in the dream. I was nineteen years old when I visited 
England for the first time, and spent a day on the shore of the 
Irish Sea. I naturally amused myself by catching the sea 
animals left by the waves, and occupied myself in particular 
with a starfish (the dream begins with Hollthurn — Holothurian), 
when a pretty little girl came over to me and asked me, " Is 
it a starfish ? Is it alive ? " I answered, "Yes, he is alive," 
but was then ashamed of my mistake and repeated the sentence 
correctly. For the grammatical mistake which I then made, 
the dream substitutes another which is quite common with 
Germans. " Das Buch ist von Schiller " should not be trans- 
lated by the booh is from, but the booh is by. That the dream- 
work produces this substitution because the word from makes 
possible, through consonance, a remarkable condensation with 
the German adjective fromm (pious, devout), no longer surprises 
us after all that we have heard about the aims of the dream- 
work and about its reckless selection of means of procedure. 
But what is the meaning of the harmless recollection of the 
seashore in relation to the dream ? It explains by means of a 
very innocent example that I have used the wrong gender — 
i.e. that I have put "he," the word denoting the sex or the 
sexual, where it does not belong. This is surely one of the 
keys to the solution of dreams. Who ever has heard of the 
origin of the book-title Matter and Motion (Moliere in Malade 
Imaginaire : La matiere est-elle laudable ? — A motion of 
the bowels) will readily be able to supply the missing 
parts. 

Moreover, I can prove conclusively by a demonstratio ad 



412 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

oculos that the forgetting in dreams is in great part due to the 
activity of resistance. A patient tells me that he has dreamed, 
but that the dream has vanished without leaving a trace, as 
if nothing had happened. We continue to work, however ; I 
strike a resistance which I make plain to the patient ; by en- 
couraging and urging I help him to become reconciled to some 
disagreeable thought ; and as soon as I have succeeded he 
exclaims, " Now, I can recall what I have dreamed." The 
same resistance which that day disturbed him in the work 
caused him also to forget the dream. By overcoming this 
resistance, I brought the dream to memory. 

In the same way the patient may, on reaching a certain 
part of the work, recall a dream which took place three, four, 
or more days before, and which has rested in oblivion through- 
out all this time. 

Psychoanalytic experience has furnished us with another 
proof of the fact that the forgetting of dreams depends more 
on the resistance than on the strangeness existing between 
the waking and sleeping states, as the authorities have be- 
lieved. It often happens to me, as well as to the other analysts 
and to patients under treatment, that we are awakened from 
sleep by a dream, as we would say, and immediately there- 
after, while in full possession of our mental activity, we begin 
to interpret the dream. In such cases I have often not rested 
until I gained a full understanding of the dream, and still it 
would happen that after the awakening I have just as com- 
pletely forgotten the interpretation work as the dream content 
itself, though I was aware that I had dreamed and that I had 
interpreted the dream. The dream has more frequently 
taken along into forgetfulness the result of the interpretation 
work than it was possible for the mental activity to retain the 
dream in memory. But between this interpretation work and 
the waking thoughts there is not that psychic gap through 
which alone the authorities wish to explain the forgetting of 
dreams. Morton Prince objects to my explanation of the 
forgetting of dreams on the ground that it is only a particular 
example of amnesia for dissociated states, and that the im- 
possibility of harmonising my theory with other types of 
amnesia makes it also valueless for other purposes. He thus 
makes the reader suspect that in all his description of such 



PSYCHOLOGY OF DREAM ACTIVITIES 413 

dissociated states he has never made the attempt to find 
the dynamic explanation for these phenomena. For, had he 
done so, he surely would have discovered that the repression 
and the resistance produced thereby " is quite as well the 
cause of this dissociation as of the amnesia for its psychic 
content." 

That the dream is as little forgotten as the other psychic 
acts, and that it clings to memory just as firmly as the other 
psychic activities was demonstrated to me by an experiment 
which I was able to make while compiling this manuscript. 
I have kept in my notes many dreams of my own which, for 
some reason at the time I could analyse only imperfectly or 
not at all. In order to get material to illustrate my assertions, 
I attempted to subject some of them to analysis from one to 
two years later. I succeeded in this attempt without any 
exception. Indeed, I may even state that the interpretation 
went more easily at this later time than at the time when the 
dreams were recent occurrences. As a possible explanation 
for this fact, I would say that I had gotten over some of the 
resistances which disturbed me at the time of dreaming. In 
such subsequent interpretations I have compared the past 
results in dream thoughts with the present, which have 
usually been more abundant, and have invariably found the 
past results falling under the present without change. I have, 
however, soon put an end to my surprise by recalling that I 
have long been accustomed to interpret dreams from former 
years which have occasionally been related to me by patients 
as if they were dreams of the night before, with the same 
method and the same success. I shall report two examples of 
such delayed dream interpretations in the discussion of 
anxiety dreams. When I instituted this experiment for the 
first time, I justly expected that the dream would behave in 
this respect like a neurotic symptom. For when I treat a 
neurotic, perhaps an hysteric, by psychoanalysis, I am com- 
pelled to find explanations for the first symptoms of the 
disease which have long been forgotten, just as for those still 
existing which have brought the patient to me ; and I find 
the former problem easier to solve than the more exigent one 
of to-day. In the Studien über Hysterie, published as early 
as 1895, I was able to report the explanation of a first 



414 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

hysterical attack of anxiety which the patient, a woman over 
forty years of 'age, had experienced in her fifteenth year.* 

I may now proceed in an informal way to some further 
observations on the interpretation of dreams, which will perhaps 
be of service to the reader who wishes to test my assertion by 
the analysis of his own dreams. 

No one must expect that the interpretations of his dreams 
will come to him overnight without any exertion. Practice 
is required even for the perception of endoptic phenomena 
and other sensations usually withdrawn from attention, 
although this group of perceptions is not opposed by any 
psychic motive. It is considerably more difficult to become 
master of the " undesirable presentations." He who wishes 
to do this will have to fulfil the requirements laid down in this 
treatise. Obeying the rules here given, he will strive during the 
work to curb in himself every critique, every prejudice, and 
every affective or intellectual one-sidedness. We will always 
be mindful of the precept of Claude Bernard for the experi- 
menter in the physiological laboratory — " Travailler comme 
une bete " — meaning he should be just as persistent, but also 
just as unconcerned about the results. He who will follow 
these counsels will surely no longer find the task difficult. The 
interpretation of a dream cannot always be accomplished in 
one session ; j^ou often feel, after following up a concatenation 
of thoughts, that your working capacity is exhausted ; the 
dream will not tell you anything more on that day ; it is then 
best to break off, and return to the work the following day. 
Another portion of the dream content then solicits your 
attention, and you thus find an opening to a new stratum of 
the dream thoughts. We may call this the " fractionary " 
interpretation of dreams. 

It is most difficult to induce the beginner in the inter- 
pretation of dreams to recognise the fact that his task is not 
finished though he is in possession of a complete interpretation 
of the dream which is ingenious and connected, and which 
explains all the elements of the dream. Besides this another 
superimposed interpretation of the same dream may be pos- 
sible which has escaped him. It is really not simple to form 

* Translated by A. A. Brill, appearing under the title Selected Papers on 
Hysteria. 



PSYCHOLOGY OF DREAM ACTIVITIES 415 

an idea of the abundant unconscious streams of thought 
striving for expression in our minds, and to believe in the 
skilfulness displayed by the dream-work in hitting, so to speak, 
with its ambiguous manner of expression, seven flies with one 
stroke, like the journeyman tailor in the fairy tale. The reader 
will constantly be inclined to reproach the author for uselessly 
squandering his ingenuity, but anyone who has had experience 
of his own will learn to know better. 

The question whether every dream can be interpreted may 
be answered in the negative. One must not forget that in the 
work of interpretation one must cope with the psychic forces 
which are responsible for the distortion of the dream. Whether 
one can become master of the inner resistances through his 
intellectual interest, his capacity for self-control, his psycho- 
logical knowledge, and his practice in dream interpretation 
becomes a question of the preponderance of forces. It is 
always possible to make some progress. One can at least go 
far enough to become convinced that the dream is an ingenious 
construction, generally far enough to gain an idea of its mean- 
ing. It happens very often that a second dream confirms 
and continues the interpretation assumed for the first. A 
whole series of dreams running for weeks or months rests on 
a common basis, and is therefore to be interpreted in con- 
nection. In dreams following each other, it may be often 
observed how one takes as its central point what is indicated 
only as the periphery of the next, or it is just the other way, 
so that the two supplement each other in interpretation. 
That the different dreams of the same night are quite regu- 
larly in the interpretation to be treated as a whole I have 
already shown by examples. 

In the best interpreted dreams we must often leave one 
portion in obscurity because we observe in the interpretation 
that it represents the beginning of a tangle of dream thoughts 
which cannot be unravelled but which has furnished no new 
contribution to the dream content. This, then, is the keystone 
of the dream, the place at which it mounts into the unknown. 
For the dream thoughts which we come upon in the interpre- 
tation must generally remain without a termination, and merge 
in all directions into the net-like entanglement of our world 
of thoughts. It is from some denser portion of this texture 



416 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

that the dream-wish then arises like the mushroom from its 
mycelium. 

Let us now return to the facts of dream-forgetting, as we 
have really neglected to draw an important conclusion from 
them. If the waking life shows an unmistakable intention 
to forget the dream formed at night, either as a whole, immedi- 
ately after awakening, or in fragments during the course of 
the day, and if we recognise as the chief participator in this 
forgetting the psychic resistance against the dream which has 
already performed its part in opposing the dream at night — 
then the question arises, What has the dream formation 
actually accomplished against this resistance ? Let us con- 
sider the most striking case in which the waking life has done 
away with the dream as though it had never happened. If 
we take into consideration the play of the psychic forces, we 
are forced to assert that the dream would have never come 
into existence had the resistance held sway during the night 
as during the day. We conclude then, that the resistance 
loses a part of its force during the night ; we know that it 
has not been extinguished, as we have demonstrated its interest 
in the dream formation in the production of the distortion. 
We have, then, forced upon us the possibility that it abates at 
night, that the dream formation has become possible with 
this diminution of the resistance, and we thus readily under- 
stand that, having regained its full power with the awakening, 
it immediately sets aside what it was forced to admit as long 
as it was in abeyance. Descriptive psychology teaches us 
that the chief determinant in dream formation is the dormant 
state of the mind. We may now add the following eluci- 
dation : The sleeping state makes dream formation possible by 
diminishing the endopsychic censor. 

We are certainly tempted to look upon this conclusion as 
the only one possible from the facts of dream-forgetting, and 
to develop from it further deductions concern